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Writing women's history one mother at a time... since 2004.

Phyllis Wolman’s story of Annie ⓜ


Things I can remember about my mother. I am 90 years old and was the youngest daughter of 3.  My mother died of heart problems when she was 72.   Her name was Annie KAPLAN (maybe with a c). I think she born in the east end of London.  All I know is she arrived in South Africa with her mother Yetta and her father Jacob and siblings (10).  She was very young but used to teach the immigrants to speak English.  She also played the piano.  She later married my father (Joe Wolman) and lived in a large house in Dornfontein opposite the school. When her sister married they used the house as the wedding reception.

My mother was very strict and I always did as I was told..  She was very efficient at baking, cooking, sewing, knitting and crocheting.  She made all our clothes, from socks, underwear and dresses and as my elder sister outgrew her things they were handed down to my second sister and  I received her hand me downs.  When I was 5 we moved to a beautiful house in Observatory and my mother built a tennis court and we all learned to play.  I played at school and with my mother at home.  She taught me to sew, knit, crochet and even to bake a cheesecake (which is a favorite everywhere).  When I was about 12 my father died of kidney disease and we had to move to a small house in Bellevue.  When I was 14 my mother made me leave school and learn shorthand typing etc. so that I could get a job and earn my keep.

My mother married again 2 times but both not successful. She went back to work and did shorthand typing.

When I was about 11/12  year old and came home from school, my mother was playing  bridge and asked me to take her place as she made tea.  She also taught bridge at night.

At age 56 she learnt to drive a car and also learnt to play bowls. Then all her daughters were now married and she lived in a flat in Yeoville.   She suffered from angina and was always taking lots and lots of pills.

She travelled and took a Greyhound bus across America from N. to S. and later she took my eldest sister on a trip to South America.

When she came to South Africa she had 10 siblings – 4 boys and 6 sisters. All were married and had children and when I got engaged there were 100 in the family.  Today I am the only one alive.  They all died from heart problems and so the family history went down into medical records.


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