Monday, January 7, 2013

Ivy Maude Dryden (formerly Egenes; neè Woods)

Ivy with her daughter Laurette and son-in-law Duncan 1976

Ivy was born on 8 December 1898, probably in Johannesburg. Her father was Charles Woods, who was well known in horse-riding circles. We can not establish if he was a race-horse owner or simply enjoyed the sport or gambling. It is believed that Charles was involved in the building of the original Rand Airport, but this too has not been confirmed.

The name of Ivy’s mother is unknown. She definitely was of Irish decent as my mother often spoke of her Irish grandmother. Three other children were born to the marriage. A sister Connie, who later married into the Ball’s Chutney family of Fish Hoek; and two brothers, Harold and Reg. We have not been able to trace descendants of the brothers. Ivy often spoke of her child-hood and siblings but as none of this was ever recorded, her memories are lost forever.

Ivy married Oscar Egenes (b. 1900 d. 1986) on 15 December 1921 in Aliwal. Two children were born, namely Harold (b.1924) and Laurette Edythe (b.1928 d. 2003). Unfortunately, the marriage was a stormy one and ended in divorce.

She met and married Albert Dryden in Bloemfontein in 1955. They were happily married and settled in Dundee, Kwa-Zulu Natal where Laurette had settled after her marriage to Duncan Mckenzie. They lived in a garden flat in Mckenzie street, and later moved to the old age cottages in Colley Street. Some years later, Albert and Ivy were amongst the first residents of the Eventide Home in Dundee. They occupied a room that was sponsored by Toc-H, a welfare organisation.

Ivy was a small built woman with a strong character. Her grand-children adored her. She enjoyed their company and always had a treat of jelly waiting in the fridge. She was an excellent seamstress and produce clothing of a fine quality. One day, soon after purchasing her first electric sewing machine, Ivy accidentally sewed the needle through a finger. Albert removed it with a pair of pliers. Although it was obviously very painful for some time after that, they both saw the funny side of the accident and joked about how different “modern” appliances where to those that they were used to. Previously, she had owned a Singer hand operated machine!

Gardening was a favourite past-time and her roses were the best in the street! The only fertiliser they received were tea-leaves and banana skins. Ivy also enjoyed growing her own vegetables but as she aged, found this somewhat physically exhausting.

After the death of her beloved Albert in 1976, Ivy continued to live at Eventide until her health began to fail. Often she would be admitted to hospital and we, her grandchildren informed that the end is near. We would do our best to reach her bedside, which would cheer her so much that she would get a new lease on life! Eventually, her health became so poor and she moved to lived with Laurette and Duncan, in their farm “Fairview”. By now, her memory was failing and she did not recognise Laurette, believing her to be the matron of the old age home. As often as I visited them, Ivy would complain that Lauly had abandoned her and never visited anymore. Once she even asked me if her beloved daughter had passed on! After two years on the farm, Eventide opened a frail-care section and Ivy was admitted. By now, I was the only family member whom she recognised.

When Albert died, she had made me a promise that she would live to see my daughter. The last thing she knitted was a pair of un-even sized pink bootees, which I still have. Ivy died on 13 August 1985, three days before my daughter’s first birthday, and was buried the day before.

Ivy Maude Dryden was the best Granny a child could wish for!

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