My Granny, A Jew Nonpareil

Ezra Azra

Copyright 2023 by Ezra Azra

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

"Sarah, Abraham's wife, died in the land of Canaan. Abraham weighed four hundred shekels of silver, current money, to pay Ephron the Hittite for possession of a field in the land of Canaan, in which to bury Sarah, his wife." King James Bible.

Jane Goldstone, 1890-1973.

My Granny was born on the family farm in the town of Ifafa, in Zululand, in British Empire South Africa. She was the second of five children to William and Maria Goldstone.

Her paternal Grandfather, William Goldstone, an Englishman, had arrived in South Africa and, having not a racist bone in his body, he married a non-Semite Zulu woman named Noyanduku. They had seven children; all sons; none circumcised.

William and other British immigrants who had children by Negroid Zulu women, in South Africa, were continuing a race of African Negroid Semites that existed in the time of Moses when he married an Ethiopian woman.

My Mother had five children. I am the youngest. At my Granny's request, my Mother left me to live with my Granny and Grampa. There were only the three of us in that home I lived in for the first twelve years of my life. After those twelve years, I never saw Granny again.

Before she met and married my Grampa in 1908, Granny worked on a farm where horses were raised. When she left that horse farm, one of the memento's Granny was given, was a horsewhip.

Granny used that horsewhip to keep her many Grandchildren on the straight-and-narrow. That horsewhip was the principal reason all Granny's other Grandchildren visited briefly on special occasions, only. And only in day time.

I have one scar from contact with that horsewhip. The other scars healed over the years without leaving visible traces. Other traces are still deep within me. I remember all the occasions; all their details.

Granny read a little from the Bible every evening, in Zulu. Granny did not believe Jesus is the prophesied Messiah, but she accepted that, if there had been a person named Jesus, he was a uniquely enlightened person.

She quoted Jesus at us, often; particularly when she was applying her horsewhip.

She took particular joy in citing the Bible occasion of Jesus applying a whip to blasphemous persons in the House of God.

It puzzled Granny why Christians claim Jesus to be the Messiah promised by the Bible prophesy that makes no mention of a Second coming of the promised Messiah. By Granny's reading of the Bible, when the Messiah arrives the first time, he is never going to leave.

My Mother said the wonder was that Granny was so often visited by Christian missionaries. Granny would not challenge them. She listened, and had tea with them. Some of them visited more than once. Granny enjoyed the discussions.

Granny had about twelve Grandchildren. Although I was the only one living with Granny and Grampa, I was not her favorite. Obed was.

My cousin Obed was two years older than me, but he was mentally slow. He was Auntie Ruth's eldest child of five, but his speech abilities were overtaken by all the others. He was enrolled in school three years after I had been.

Obed was the favourite of all the adults in our family because by his behaviour they believed he was possessed by good spirits.

At times he would burst out speaking other languages, that he could not have understood. Granny loved him because at times he would speak to her in advanced Zulu. At times Obed spoke languages that nobody could identify.

The most spectacular of Obed's behaviours happened when he was an adult. He served as an official in a Christian Church. At a Sunday service, he suddenly rose up into the air and moved down the aisle from the back of the Church to the altar. At the altar, he floated back to the ground. From then on, everybody in the parish almost worshipped him.

Because of his mental slowness, Obed did not have enough ego in him to take advantage of the respect his unusual behaviour earned him from family and strangers.

His Mother, Auntie Ruth, most of the time a stay-at-home Mother, claimed that, for a small fee, she could tell a person's future by the tea-leaf spread at the bottom of that person's cup of tea.

For some inexplicable reason, Granny encouraged Auntie Ruth in her claim.

Auntie Ruth was extra possessive of Obed as a child. The other adults in the family guessed that Auntie Ruth did not want to risk Obed revealing a valuable secret to others. Obed died in the year 2000, of natural cause. By then he was a Grampa.

Obed had never revealed a secret of any material value to anyone.

I did not quite like Obed, because when Obed visited occasionally, he was not allotted chores by Granny, as every other Grandchild was the moment they entered our home. For all his mental slowness, Obed knew how to show me that Granny, clearly, loved him more than she loved me. Granny always had glowing things to say about Obed.

To this day, I do not remember any glowing thing Granny ever said of me, although quite often in reward of how well I performed the countless chores assigned to me every day, and sometimes at night, she would give me an extra biscuit with my tea, and extra sugar.

Granny never tired of observing that Obed's impulsive and inexplicable speaking other languages, was a gift mentioned in the Bible, "They heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God."

I had nightmares about the things I thought up to do to Obed's tongue.

That might have been the reason Obed and I, at one time, had a fight. The only fight I remember between me and another Grandchild.

I won. He ran, crying, to his Mother, Auntie Ruth of the tea leaves. She complained to Granny.

Granny took the whip to me. Weirdly, I had the impression, the pain was not as intense as usual. I was an expert in the pain levels inflicted by Granny's whip. Was Granny holding back? Why would she? Obed was her favorite Grandchild.

Or was it simply that the infinitely spiteful vindictive glee I got out of thrashing Obed, had earned me a measure of immunity from Granny's righteous Jesus-whipping? Anyway, I recalled that it was Granny herself who, more than once, told us about the whipping Jesus himself had suffered before he was crucified. It really helped.

I kept far away from Granny whenever I sensed she was upset. Only twice I saw Granny wiping away her tears.

The second time was when Grampa died of double pneumonia in bed in June on a Sunday at about four o'clock in the afternoon, in 1949. He had been ill for weeks before that Sunday.

The first time was when I came home one afternoon from school in 1947.

Granny was in the kitchen with her cousin, Uncle Billy Goldstone. They were having tea. They were speaking in Zulu. I understood Zulu.

Granny knew I understood Zulu because over the years, she had horse-whipped Zulu into me; only me of all her Grandchildren.

Silently, I washed my hands at the sink and dried them with the kitchen towel Granny handed to me. I took my usual place at the kitchen table.

Because I saw Granny repeatedly wiping away her tears, I was terrified I might do something that would make her go for her whip. In me was the frantic search to find out if Granny's tears were because of what I had done.

Uncle Billy seemed to understand my situation, perfectly. Even while continuing his conversation in Zulu with Granny, he kept smiling at me.

He slyly slid some of his biscuits to me, across the surface of the table. His smiling helped, but not sliding his biscuits. If Granny suspected I had somehow asked Uncle Billy for his biscuits, she would have punished me, there and then.

So, when Uncle Billy slid his biscuits to me, I promptly gobbled down the two Granny had already given to me, and gulped down my tea in two gulps.

If Granny chose to confiscate, I would, at least, have not lost my two biscuits and my tea.

What was upsetting Granny was the news that the country of Israel had come into being. In retrospect, I think Uncle Billy did not care a fig about Israel, but he mechanically agreed with what Granny was saying. Granny was upset at the way Israel had come into being.

Granny's exact words were, more-or-less, after all these years, "We did not have to do it with guns and cruelty. With the support of Great Britain and the U.S.A., within two generations we could have bought up all the real estate from the Mediterranean to Mesopotamia. And, who knows, in a little while longer, from the Mediterranean to the Arabian."

Granny had always believed that "her people" had a right of legal ownership in Palestine because her first ancestor in Palestine, Abraham, had legally paid for a plot of land.

Granny contemned persons who used the terms antisemitic/antisemite when they mean anti-Jew. There are peoples who are Semites, but are not Jews.

Granny was eighteen when she married my Grampa.

In so doing, she cocked a snook at/gave the finger to/thumbed her nose at her God Jehovah's "chosen race" racist stupidity.

My Grampa was Hindu. He had been born in British Empire India. He had been brought to South Africa as an indentured coolie labourer, by the racist British.

My Granny and my Grampa had a happy life, each in their own religion, and each ever on guard against getting too close to all the almighty Gods around.  

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