Maternal Grandparents


         Grandpa Johnnie and Grandma Hennie on their wedding day  Grandpa and grandma - Johnny and Hennie de la Harpe  

Left: Grandparents' wedding  & Right: Oupa Johnny & Ouma Hennie 1948

My grandparents

Jean Charles Hayward de la Harpe

* 28 May 1872 4 Feb 1963

First marriage to

Alice Flora Admiral

*22 April 1866 19 August 1908

Second marriage to:
Hendrika Lodewika Jacoba Momberg *24 August 1874 3 Feb 1955

Alice Flora Admiral

Although I never knew this lady to me she was almost a fairy tale figure. I suppose all was just made up in my very mind from stories that were told by the family. I was always deeply engrossed in the family tales and as a child - a dreamer with a vivid imagination.

My earliest childhood memories is from my maternal grandparents' home. The lounge was a dark room with heavy curtains and a black roller blind that was mostly pulled down "to keep out the heat." I was allowed to go into that room (that was more or less only used when the minister did his rounds) on the premise that I would carefully open the blind and curtains just enough to see while I was looking at photos from a very old photo album. This was a wonderful book full of pictures with grand ladies in amazing dresses. The book itself had a decoupage cover with tiny flowers if I remember correctly.

I would sit on the bentwood rocking chair and carefully page through the book. In the same room there was also a harp that I was told belonged to Alice Flora Admiral but I was not allowed to touch the harp. I think these childhood memories have a lot to do with my present interest in photography and my inborn wanderlust.

I was told that this grandmother  - who actually was not MY grandmother - could speak seven languages and that she came to South Africa more or less at the time when the British Settlers arrived. She could speak English, French, Dutch, German and a few Far Eastern dialects. She worked in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) before she came to South Africa. She was employed as a governess when my grandfather met and wed her  in the late 1800's. She as also very artistic. The proof for that lies an only existing painting that she made in 1883. This painting was also on the wall of that dark lounge. It now belongs to a cousin who had it beautifully framed and restored.

A painying by Alice FLora Admiral - 1883

Painting by Alice Flora Admiral - 1883

Some of my most treasured memories of Oupa Johnnie and Ouma Hennie are also preserved in a number of small old photos that I restored and edited digitally. What I can remember best is the large stoep of their house which was the gathering place for friends and family and also where most photos were taken. I think I even took a few of my first steps on that stoep and I can remember  regarding it as a big achievement to be able to walk on that stoep wall. Mother used to tell that I walked on tip-toe because that was the only way I could see over the stoep wall. Enjoy the next few photos depicting this particular memory.

Wia & grandparents 1944  Family and grandparents

Wia & family with Grandparents 1944 & 1948

This photo shows Ouma Hennie with a small bouquet of violets. The bed of violets was just to the right of where she sits. I was allowed to pick violets for her and I loved doing that! This was such an occasion and obviously part of enhancing the photo experience for me.