They matriculated from Sea Point High School – then Sea Point Boys’ High –in the 1950s and met again 70 years later to reminisce about their time as schoolboys and their eight decades on this planet.
Gus Milner, the reunion’s organiser, matriculated in 1954 and arranged for former classmates and acquaintances to gather at the Newport restaurant in Mouille Point.
Sea Point Boys’ High School, was established on April 21 1884. In 1989 the school merged with Ellerslie Girls’ High School after becoming co-educational and renamed Sea Point High School.
“My passion for sports was kindled at Sea Point High School – cricket, soccer, table tennis, rugby, tennis – still playing three or four times a week and in later life squash, golf, the most frustrating sport of all,” Mr Milner said.
Neil Blackshaw, 85, matriculated in 1954 and recalled a game called “rush” that they used to play on the lawns during break times.
“In this game you had two sides facing each other and someone tries to get past and we used to tackle each other as they would do in a rugby game. Our grey flannels used to have green marks from the grass and you would get into trouble with your mom,” said Mr Blackshaw.
Ernie Chicken, 86, matriculated in 1954, and admits that he was not a good student as he preferred playing sports.
“The fact that I made it through school is a good memory. I would say my favourite teachers were the ones who organised the cricket and rugby teams,” Mr Chicken said.
Len Isaacs, 85, recalls an Afrikaans teacher informing him that if he passed the matric exams, he would eat his hat, which he did (passed), but he never went back to make him eat his hat.
“I was bad at school (academics) because all I did was play cricket and soccer. I once scored 180 runs in a cricket match that was played over two days. There was no such thing as five-day cricket or 50 overs in those days. The first Saturday I made 140 runs and the following Saturday I was on 40 runs and got run out from a direct throw from the boundary ,” Mr Isaacs recalled.
John Lazarus, 85, from the matric class of 1954, said he lived in Johannesburg and after the family visited Camps Bay when he was 7 years old, he asked his parents if they could move to Cape Town after swimming in the Atlantic waters.
“We would build a little boat from a sheet of corrugated iron and a tomato box and we’d go out into the water, my parents didn’t know about it, no one knew; it was fun,” Mr Lazarus said.
Norman Salcus, 85, a matriculant from 1953, another keen sportsman, says he enjoyed playing bridge as well.
“Cricket, tennis, athletics – I took part in all those sports and that was the foundation for our friendship,” Mr Salcus said.
Len Handler, 87, matriculated in 1953 and said that school was really enjoyable. He played sports for the better part of his life; he last played in a hockey match four years ago.
“I played baseball, rugby and I was a sprinter. So, I really enjoyed that. Some of us were together from primary school and together throughout high school, so we know each other for a long time,” Mr Handler said.
Zel Zurname, 84, matriculated in 1956 and says there were too many memories to recall. “If you matriculated at Sea Point then you did it on your own because the teaching wasn’t great; you had to be self-motivated,” he said.
Vic Sharfman, 87, from the matric class of 1953, said they were only 14 students in his matric class and they had a terrific spirit.
“We got along great, there was such a nice spirit, but after we left school we never met again and I seem to be the last of them,;I would have loved to see them, ” Mr Sharfman said.
Alan Bearman did not want to divulge his matric year but did say that the geography teacher, Mr Hobson, was his favourite teacher.
“This meeting here gave me something to think about and to appreciate the guys that are here – this was a lovely experience,” Mr Bearman said.
Mr Milner said there were approximately 140 matriculants from those years and that some have passed on.
“Lifelong friends made, unfortunately too many no longer above ground. Of the roughly 90 matriculants from 1953/4, I guess only about 15 are still compis mentis( or not!!),” said Mr Milner.
He added that some lived in America and Australia and that others were spread across the country.
Among those that could not attend were Brian Crawford, Norman Axten, Tubby Blackshaw, Frank Forsyth, Des Doran, Martin Coetzee, Peter Hogan, Bub Evans, Jeff Isaacs, Bill Morris, Jack Etherington, Stan Boiskin, Neville Jackson and Steven Handler.