4months ago the nursery school I teach at was sold by the owner and principal who has decided that at age 52 and after 15 years in the business it was time for her to retire. I was very fond of her and naturally was anxious at the prospect of a new boss. Fortunately I have been pleasantly surprised to discover that the new boss is just as if not even more lovely the previous one. This got me thinking about all my previous bosses and reminded me of my favorite one who is no longer with us. Her name was Nolene and she was the most wonderfully compassionate woman I have ever met. Her husband Neville was the district superintendent of al the churches of the Nazarene in the
Although they lived on a huge property (owned by the church for the purpose of housing the person in his position) and drove a Mercedes Benz, they led very simple lives. Nolene never wore any jewelry or make up and was as humble as they come. She was a great principal and boss. She ran a nursery school called The Little lighthouse (which was at the time also owned by one of the Nazarene churches). I had the privilege of starting my teaching career under her guidance.
One Sunday evening in 1996 on their way to preach at a church service a truck got a flat while driving alongside them on the R 600 on the way to Mitchell’s Plain. The driver of the truck lost control of the vehicle and it flipped over on its side landing right on top of Nolene and Neville’s Mercedes. Their two youngest children were in the back seat of the car with them, Alana-Lee aged 13 and
We received a phone call Sunday telling us they were involved in an accident and that we should all pray for the family. Later that evening we received another phone call telling us they had passed away. That was a bad night for me I could not sleep a wink. Monday morning I opened up the school as I usually did (I did the early shift so I opened the school every morning). I told each parent as they arrived and asked them to please tell their child at home that evening. We figured that would be best as each parent deals with the topic of death differently and the news should come from them. The school had approximately 80 children and every one of them was very fond on ‘aunty Nolene’ as they affectionately called her.
The next evening was particularly harrowing for me, as I was asked by the governing body of the school to go to Nolene’s house on the Monday evening and get her set of school keys, the ones containing the office safe. As occasionally parents paid her fees late on a Friday afternoon she would keep it in the safe till Monday morning when she would go and bank it. I went over to the house and her two older sons Quentin and Stuart were there along with dozens of family, friends and other mourners. I had to ask Quentin the oldest son (age 22) for the keys. He said they were still in his mother’s handbag and that I should just go look in it and get it. I went through to her bedroom and found the bag on the bed. I looked inside and was crying as I scratched around looking for the keys as her bag was full of her blood. I also had to ask for the school’s industrial size pots (the ones we used to make the lunch meals for the children) as Nolene had borrowed them the Friday to cook for visiting ministers over the weekend. I went to the kitchen only to discover that relatives had made pots of curry in them for all the other relatives and mourners who had arrived to support the sons who were left behind. I felt so bad when they had to scrape the curry out into other dishes so I could take them with me and slinked out of there as quickly as possible.
I miss Nolene still even though it has been 15 years now, but the memories I have of her will remain with me forever.