Friday, December 27, 2013

"The Grandfather I Never Knew" Part 4 1948-1950's.

Although the move to Africa was precipitated by Iris' being sick it is important to remember that Idris also felt called to the continent when he was a child and believed God wanted him to be involved in mission there. During the next four decades Idris was constantly at work with local churches, hospitals and outreaches.

When he first arrived in South Africa, Idris purchased a black coloured 1938 Ford V8 with red wire wheels from the city of Salibsury. Later this was replaced with a 1941 Plymouth. This was the vehicle his family would all learn to drive in! A number plate was attached to the car when it was first registered. This would remain with the vehicle for the rest of its lifetime. The license was U4472 and was placed on a circular paper disc on the inside [Drivers side] of the windscreen. The number plate would remain with the car whomever it was sold to although the paper disc with the registration changed and had to be renewed each year. The Plymouth was bought in Kempton Park, South Africa but registered in Umtali so the designated letter was U - its place of residence. Later this car was also re painted after Iris ran it into a post at their home. Idris was very fond of cars, another that he rebuilt was a 38 Chrysler, which he then repainted and sold on.

Iris standing next to the 41 Plymouth

 The family first lived in Hatfield, a suburb of Salisbury but around 1950 they moved to Rainbow Ranch, Inyanga, part of the eastern highlands of Southern Rhodesia. This was only a brief stop over as later that same year they moved onwards, to Umtali. [Below a picture of the Inyanga Mountains.]

Muturazi Falls, Inyanga
He also continued to use motorcycles as he had in England. Below is a picture of an old 250 Royal Enfield, built around 1951. Idris would use it to drive to work and back on. He bought it second hand and rebuilt it again. His son Glyn loved playing with it and once, when Idris was away to the mountains on a mission trip Glyn tried to kick start it. It fell on the ground and started to burn. Fortunately some boy scouts were walking by and they helped Glyn put out the fire by piling dirt on it. Glyn remembers never being so scared of anything in his life.

Iris standing next to the 250 Royal Enfield
Idris was a stern father but loving. He forbade swearing of any kind and would not allow his children to go to the movies or play cards. These were places and things of the 'devil' and children should not mess with them. He was also full of kindness, his daughter Wendy always remembering him as her hero, kissing her better and seeing with great kindness to any cuts and bruises that she sustained. He was also not above playing with his children, sometimes pretending to be a horse as they rode him, and as they grew older, fixing up bikes and cars for them to drive and ride.

As the 1950's drew on he had some more great undertakings ahead of him as well as personal tragedy.

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Facts and information courtesy of interview with family members Glyn Davies and Wendy Thomas, which took place between 2012-2013.

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