Monday, May 25, 2009


I was born and grew up in Port Elizabeth (PE) in South Africa. I have not been back to SA since 1984 and, in truth, I have no real desire to. But, I often think of PE. I sometimes dream about being back there, and of course, it's just as I left it. Sometimes I can smell the salty wind that blew each afternoon, and often in the early mornings I can hear the birds outside my window on Mill Park Road.

Lately these memories have been sharpened. A while back my brother pointed me to the Port Elizabeth Daily Photo website. Every day this guy called Firefly posts a picture of Port Elizabeth, it's people, places and events. Its become a daily ritual for me. Each morning, I get my coffee and sit down at my machine and wander back 30 plus years to my perfect youth. Some of the pictures stir up vivid memories. Like this one of the Willows. We held countless Habonim seminars and getaways in those cabins. My first serious kiss took place during a weekend seminar, laying around and listening to the sea. Below is another picture that whisked me back to those warm summer nights during school holidays. Looking at the lights of Happy Valley below, I can hear the croaking frogs and hear the gentle murmur of the Baakens river. It was a magical place.

Every morning I silently thank Firefly for his excellent pictures. It's wonderful that can I travel back more than three decades and thousands of miles for a few seconds every day.


MyPE said...

Port Elizabeth deserves to give Firefly and his predecessor Sue a big fat medal for all the hard work they put into the PE Daily Photo blog.

Thanks for highlighting their labour of love.

blackpetero said...

No question. Their photos are the best advertisement PE could ever have. It certainly was paradise when I grew up there. One day I'll take the blackfamilyo back to see it all.

Firefly said...

Hi there Blackpetero
Wow, thank you for the wonderful kind words you have to say about the Port Elizabeth Daily Photo blog. I'm very glad to hear that it has become part of your day to visit the blog. There are days when one get one or none comments and then you wonder if its all worth it without thinking how many people visit without commenting, but when I see or hear something like this it just makes it all worth the while. Thank you for your visits and looking forward to take you back to your memories time and time again in the future.

greta sistererio said...

Every few days I check out those amazing PE pictures and let the nostalgia flow. And the thing is the place looks very much like it did all those years ago. Peter remember
the louquat trees and mulberry trees and how about the tree in our backyard with those sour berries we used to knock down with a broom?

blackpetero said...

Hey Sistererio

I remember those sour sour berries that made your cheeks pucker. Do you remember the house on the corner of Mill Park and Wares roads. He had all sorts of carved birds and people and things in the trees on Mill Park Road. I used to walk past there every morning to take the bus to school.

We were lucky to grow up in such a perfect place.