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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

the local character

From: Bev Lawes

To all the wonderful people who responded to our appeal for ‘the local character’, thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

When we made the appeal we felt that it was important not to give our character a name. But it appears that many people know her. And another amazing thing happened. Our character (the pigeon lady, the cat lady, the bicycle lady.......), is currently in frail care at Fairways. She had decided that it was time for her to die and she pulled the blankets over her head and withdrew.  Mary Lu, who is her friend and carer, was desperate so plucked up her courage and told our character about the appeal made on her behalf and the incredible response, which included many ex-pupils.  Heather came out from under the blankets, chuckled with glee and was last seen reading her beloved newspapers. She felt loved and cared for.

We have had responses from all over the world. We will reply to each one.  We have been offered bird seed and cat food, the services of a doctor, food parcels, a newspaper subscription and cash donations, all of which will help to give Heather quality of life.  And so much love, caring and laughter.

Heathers needs are not great but she has medical expenses which will need to be paid. And we feel that it is important that she have some money for herself, to maintain her independence.  If you would like to donate towards that we are providing the bank account details for Fairways (at bottom of page).

Heather was a domestic science teacher and, by all accounts, a very good teacher. But equally strict and uncompromising. We have heard the most delightful stories about school girls lying awake all night worrying about petticoats not finished and students failing exams as they dared to lick bowls!! If you were a pupil of Heathers please give us some of your memories of her and we will put it into a scrap book for her.

We sent out this appeal without any expectations and have been overwhelmed at the response.  All your care and concern truly embodies the spirit of Christmas.   It also reflects the huge heart and soul of Zimbabwe.  There aren’t words to express our thanks.  It has been a privilege connecting with so many special people. Heather gave us a gift this Christmas that is invaluable.

Mary Lu and Bev

Too many wonderful comments from you to include all of them but here are a few;

‘Of course we remember the Pigeon feeding Lady.  The sight of her riding her big black bicycle through town to feed her birds and cats will always be a reminder of the characters we cherished growing up in Harare.’

‘She taught me in QE and I have never forgotten her. When with old school  friends and we reminisce about the old days her name always comes up.’

‘I know exactly who this lady is.  She taught domestic science at my old school, Queen Elizabeth. I was not personally taught by her. However, a schoolfriend of mine and I bumped into her in First Street a few months ago, and we thanked her for her contribution to our education. She seemed please, but was quite quickly tired and wanted to get on with what she was doing.’

‘Is this the same rather chubby lady who used to ride on her lady's shaped bicycle with a carrier on the back down second street--almost daily ?. She used to frequent the Anglican Cathedral but was always alone ?’

‘I think I am correct in saying that my Gran was at school with the lady you refer to in your Bambazonke letter, and (again I think) the same lady then taught my Mum domestic science.  My Gran is still alive in Jhb - if you have any grey areas you are looking for answers to I will gladly call and see if she can help.  Both my Mum and Gran have often spoken about her and seem to know quite a bit about her very sad and difficult childhood. ‘

‘I was at QE from 1975 – 1980. Miss Frazer taught me cooking. We remembered her feeding the cats in the church. An amazing lady whose pupils remember her well.’

I have been away from Zim for over 20 years now (living in Mozambique) but if this is the same lady, I do remember her riding her bike around the middle of Harare and near the High Court all those years ago, where she fed the pigeons/doves and cats around First St (as it was then known).’

‘Thank you for enlightening us about the mystery lady on the bike on 2nd St!’

Your story really touched my heart.  As my brother would say - 'there but for the grace of God go I'.’

Such story always touches one's heart. More so mine in that I have watched this lady on her cycle going up and down what was 2nd Street, for years, should she be the same one. I have always wondered about  "from where and to where".  It is now some years since I last saw her, I have occasionally wondered what had become of her.’

‘I am sure the lady you write about was my domestic science teacher at QE school in Salisbury from 1958-1961. She was an excellent teacher but very strict and we trod on eggshells around her.’

 ‘Hi my dear I know this lady from seeing her for many years around the town and avenues.    She is a very loving and caring animal lover.  I used to often give her money when I worked in town, for the pet food etc’

If you do donate through the Fairways account please let us know so that we can keep track and also let Heather know.

Also, please ensure that all deposits/transfers quotes ‘Heather Fraser’ and the name of the depositor.

Account name    –            Fairways homes
Account no          -             8700223075400
Bank                      -             Standard Chartered Bank Zimbabwe limited
Branch                  -             Africa Unity Square
Swift code           -              SCBLZWHXAXXX


38 Bodle Ave
792279 or 795003

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