Fond memories of Tatler and life in Rondebosch

Isabelle Goodson with her book, My Twenty Best Stories.

Picnics at Keurboom Park, Peter Pan Cakes House and the Pig and Whistle Pub are some of the places that evoke fond memories for Amanda Hanley, 62, when she thinks about the Rondebosch of her youth.

Amanda’s parents, Thomas and Isabelle Goodson, moved into their Rondebosch home in 1972, after staying in Rosmead Avenue for 15 years.

The Goodson family has a long relationship with the Tatler dating back to 1981 when Isabelle, 97, was first featured in the paper for her short stories.

She began writing as a hobby in 1958, and over the years, she has written hundreds of articles both fictional and non-fictional.

Before her son, Stephen, 70, died of cancer last year, he made it his mission to put together a book of his mother’s works over the years titled, My Twenty Best Stories.

“I’ve always been good at composition and mainly wrote about the people I met or places I travelled,” she says.

The Goodsons got married in April 2 1947. They had planned to retire to Fish Hoek, but Thomas died suddenly of cancer in 1985 at the age of 67.

Isabelle had a pen pal, Joan Stripp, from London for 82 years. They started writing to each other around 1936.

In 2018 they achieved a new Guinness World Record for the longest lasting pen friendship.

Joan died earlier this year.

“I visited her many times in London,” says Isabelle. “Her husband was born the same year as mine and she was born a month after me – we were almost identical.”

Amanda, from Pinelands, was featured in the Tatler’s Bride of the Month feature in February 1985, after her mother sent in her wedding pictures.

Amanda and her husband, Mark, both teachers, married in January 1985, but he died at
the age of 54 due to a heart problem.

Isabelle has happy memories of both her and her daughter’s weddings.

“They were just happy weddings – everyone was happy. Mandy had a lovely wedding and a wonderful husband.”

Speaking about growing up in Rondebosch, Amanda says they would ride their bicycles everywhere and play hockey in the street. And they could roam around freely.

Back then, she says, their parents never worried about where they were. The only time they would be concerned was if they didn’t show up at supper time.

“We once had an all-nighter by a friend’s house when I was Grade 8 and decided to make fudge at midnight and then take a stroll outside. Back then it was safe.

“I went to Rustenburg High School and remember how my father would call us the blue brigade – as we would often come home on our bicycles for lunch. Back then we could leave school at lunch time without having to sign out.”

She remembers the “bops” they had at St Thomas’s with the girls dressing in miniskirts and platform heels; and the strobe balls and ultra-violet lights; and visiting the ice-cream parlour.

“When I was 18, I was one of the first to get my licence, and I went to pick up my friends and we went to have an ice-cream – very different from what happens today.”