MF3b PHILLIP MAY’S DECENDANTS.
M3/7. Peter Michael May = Heather Ainslee nee de Jager.
(1950 - ) [m.1975] (1945 - )
Peter Michael May, the eldest son of Phillip Alistair May and Ruth Frances May nee Freemantle, was born in Johannesburg, South Africa on 4th February, 1950 at about 2 a.m. At the time his parents were living at Number Nine, First Avenue East, Parktown North and he was born in a maternity home in Hillbrow, probably called ‘Holmleigh’. Because this home had been converted from a private house it was not very convenient, having a narrow stair case leading up to the wards which made it very difficult for the male nurses to convey the new mothers up there from the delivery rooms below, shortly after their babies were born, especially if the mothers were rather tall. Peter was the only boy in the nursery ward with seven baby girls. He weighed 8 lbs. 4 ozs and was very long for a new-born child.
The next morning Peter’s granny was the first visitor to call and in the evening, once he could get away from work, his father came bringing an attractive Victorian posy for me, and a miniature posy for the baby. In those days there was no allowance made to assist new fathers and it was unheard of for them to attend the actual birth. The following day one of the nurses gave me a real fright by asking whether I had seen my baby’s hands. As he was presented to me at feeding time wrapped up in a cotton blanket like a papoose and, in my ignorance, I had assumed that he would be perfect, this question raised all kinds of unwarranted concerns in my mind, so I was quite astonished when the nurse added, “He has the longest fingers I have ever seen on a baby”.
[If it is of any interest Peter was born in the Chinese Year of the Buffalo]
Peter was christened at St. Martins-in-the-Veld and his godparents were his mother’s cousin, Helen O’Donnell nee Cleverly, Robert Day a close friend and another friend of his father from before the war, called Peter Graham Parker.
At the time Helen lived in Rhodesia (later Zimbabwe), Bob lived in Johannesburg and Peter Graham Parker in Rondebosch, Cape. The only one who took much interest in Peter throughout his childhood was Helen, who always remembered his birthdays and wrote at Christmas.
Peter’s parents had their home in Parktown North from the time of their marriage in May, 1949, but when Peter was about three months old, his father went on a trip north, through Rhodesia and into Malawi because he wished to change his employment and hoped to purchase a small hotel or something similar. While he was away, Peter and his mother went to stay with a long time friend of his Grandmother, Mrs. Maud Waugh, who lived in Muizenberg, in the Cape and they were there for a couple of months before returning to Johannesburg.
As a baby, Peter always had to have his rubber, baby doll in the cot with him. I suppose it gave him company as it was quite life-like but, being made of rubber, was very cold to the touch and so it was surprising that he wanted it so much.
We had a Doberman Pincher called Roddy, a birthday gift to me from Phillip during our engagement and an Alsatian, called Playboy. Our property was, as were all the others in that suburb, a three quarter acre plot. One afternoon Phillip was taking a cine film of the baby crawling about the garden and playing with the dogs. It was a very overcast day, but in spite of this (or because of it) Peter’s little ears were quite sunburnt. We still have this cine film taken on 16 m film in black and white.
As a toddler, whenever Peter stumbled while holding my hand I was inclined to say, “Oops! You nearly fell down” until one day when he took a real tumble, grazing his little knees, then looked up at me and said, rather tearfully, “Oops! I nearly fell down.” After that I tried to be more accurate in my remarks to him!