Kommetjie bids longstanding resident farewell

Kommetjie resident, Sheilagh Richardson died on Saturday May 26.

Kommetjie resident, Sheilagh Richardson, left her dearly loved home, The Shack, for the final time on Saturday May 26, ending a lifelong association with Kommetjie.

She had fulfilled her wish to die peacefully in her own home and in her own bed earlier that morning.

On this day, she was gently wheeled out through her garden, past the coral tree which her husband had planted for her mother, “Babes”, from a seed (which had come from his family farm), many years ago.

She was carefully placed into the waiting vehicle. They took a last drive past the Kom, and then Sheilagh was forever gone.

Sheilagh Rosemary Price was born in Kommetjie on November 19 1929, and her association with Kommetjie would last for almost 89 years.

Sheilagh’s parents were Alexander James Price and Elizabeth Johanna van Blerk. They married on February 25 1913. Because Elizabeth was the youngest in her family, she was always known as “Babes” or “Baby”.

The Price family moved into Kommetjie on June 9 1923 and saw most of Kommetjie develop around them over the years.

Alexander also recorded that he was the first customer through the door when the bar at the Kommetjie Hotel opened for the first time on May 27 1936. The youngest two children, Myrtle and Sheilagh, were both born in Kommetjie.

Myrtle and Sheilagh were among the first pupils in the Kommetjie Primary School on Imhoff’s Gift Farm. They were bright students as their father proudly wrote in his diary on June 16 1941 Sheilagh came second and Myrtle, first in their respective classes.

Alexander had a crayfish business and initially owned two fishing boats, the Sussex and the Ashburnham.

He would supply fish and crayfish to places like the Majestic Hotel, Cape Town Club, City Club, The Blue Moon, the Waldorf Cafe and others.

Times were hard for the family and his wife, “Babes”, also contributed by making hats and other articles for sale. She also reared poultry and sold eggs, chickens, ducks and geese to supplement their income.

During these years, there was no running water or electricity at The Shack. The family made do with Primus stoves, Tilley lamps, candles and the chore of fetching and carrying buckets of water daily.

At the age of 14, Sheilagh went to work as a shop assistant in Fish Hoek. One day, a customer came into the shop and noticed Sheilagh’s hands. She took them into her own hands and ad-
mired Sheilagh’s beautiful almond shaped nails and asked Sheilagh to promise that she would always keep them as beautiful as they were.

Sheilagh’snailsbecameher trademark throughout her life and were always manicured and beautifully painted.

Sheilagh met Roger Vincent Richardson at the Slangkop Lighthouse in Kommetjie, and they were married on September 8 1951 at St Margaret’s Church in Fish Hoek.

Sheilagh and Roger, whose nickname was “Buck”, did three more stints at the Slangkop Lighthouse during their marriage. After their marriages, both Myrtle and Sheilagh continued to have strong associations with Kommetjie.

Myrtle married her husband, Arthur Burstow Fairman, in 1948, and they lived in Kommetjie for many years until 1965, while Arthur was employed at the Wireless Station.

Although her family were of modest means, their door was always open to everybody, and during the war years, they also befriended many British sailors who were stationed in Kommetjie and Simon’s Town.

After the death of her parents, Sheilagh and Roger purchased The Shack and the open-door policy continued for family and friends alike.

Visitors always received a warm welcome. After Roger retired from the Light Service, he and Sheilagh renovated The Shack and made it their permanent home.

They lived their last years there with contentment and gratitude for what they had. The sudden death of her husband on June 1 2008 was a terrible blow for Sheilagh, and she never fully recovered from the loss.

Now, sadly, Kommetjie has lost one of its long-standing residents, and The Shack has lost its soul. The extended family of Sheilagh Rosemary Richardson (born Price) has lost its much-loved matriarch.

* Gail Marilyn is Ms Richardson’s eldest daughter.