Memories on the ceiling


It all started in the late 1960s when my eldest sister, who was working in Johannesburg at the time, visited one weekend.
We were living in Senekal and I had just moved out of the main house into my own bedroom in an outbuilding next to the garage. For a 13-year-old boy this was a dream come true.
“Let’s do something with the walls,” my sister said when she walked into my den. “What do you mean?” I asked. “Wallpaper,” she replied. “Why don’t we paste maps onto the walls?”
So that’s exactly what we did. We tore up a few old school atlases, got some road maps from the local Shell garage, and even nabbed my dad’s Automobile Association map book from his car.
When my sister left that Sunday my man cave was a colourful wall-to-wall wonderland where I would spend hours and hours dreaming of faraway places and unheard-of destinations.
Those were the days. But then the busy years went rushing by us. We lost our starry notions on the way. Until last week.
I was watching David Letterman’s new show on Netflix. His guest was George Clooney and they were visiting Clooney’s parents. George’s dad, Nick, showed Letterman into his study. When they entered the room, I was totally astounded. Every square centimetre of the roof was covered with pictures. A lifetime’s memories glued to the ceiling.
The penny immediately dropped. This was nothing but an extension of our map project. And I have boxes full of old photographs, including many yellowed pictures of my great-grandparents and their friends. It would look beautiful on my ceiling.
And now I’m proud to announce that this pensioner’s Project: Pictures has commenced. It is hard work climbing up the ladder. My neck aches. My shoulders hurt. But I love it.
To honour him, I will add a picture of Nick Clooney to the mix. He’s a retired journalist too. And yes, there will definitely also be a large photograph of my dear sister, Anina, who started it all more than fifty years ago.