Memories linger on

Cindy Truscott, Newlands

The guard blew his whistle and waved his green flag as he stood at the end of the Cape Town/Simon’s Town train. All aboard. Alle stasies, all stations. Clickety-clack. Off we go.

Businessmen in suits, with their briefcases, settled back to read their newspapers on the way to work.

A little later the train was filled with the laughter and fun of schoolchildren with their satchels and suitcases, jumping out at Wynberg, Claremont, Newlands, Rondebosch, Observatory and Cape Town.

Mid-morning, ladies wearing pretty dresses headed for tea at Stuttafords to hear Freddy Carle playing delightful romantic melodies on the piano, while they chatted to their friends, or they may well have met to have lunch at the Vineyard at Garlicks, or shopped at Cleghorn and Harris, or Fletcher and Cartwrights.

On the way home, clickety-clack, they passed the stone walls of the Castle of Good Hope, then Salt River Junction with interweaving railway tracks, and possibly a sight of the beautiful Blue Train arriving from Johannesburg.

Salt River and Woodstock were the hub of the garment workers paradise with clothing factories for men’s suits, shirts, overalls, ladies dresses and hats. A little further on there was a paper factory, a match factory and a large tobacco manufacturing company.

There were also the various aromas of biscuits, chocolates, bread and cakes.

At Rondebosch you were greeted with the heavy smell of leather, but if you hopped off the train, you could do a shop at Lilian Salmon for exclusive ladies fashions, and the Rustenberg shoe store to be perfectly fitted with the latest imports.

Miltons in Kenilworth sold only the finest fabrics and furniture, and McDonalds in Wynberg offered children’s school uniforms, fabrics and a delightful selection of bric-a-brac.

When you had paid for your purchases, your change and receipt flew through the air from the office upstairs in a strange little box that needed a twist of the wrist to get it open.

Sadly those sights and sounds of carefree days have gone but the memory lingers on.