From the book: Side by Side by Helen Joseph
After almost five years of house arrest, I was eagerly but anxiously looking forward to 31 October 1967, when the restrictions were due to expire. I began to count the weeks and then the days, hoping, yet not quite believing, that the house arrest might not be renewed. There was no way of predicting what would happen, as I had been the first person to be placed under house arrest. Several other people were waiting almost as anxiously as I was, for then they too would know what to expect.
I stilled my own nagging doubts and planned for my freedom. I even sang to myself when I drive to work, to the tune of "Around the World in Eighty Days" but with my own words: "In eighty days I shall be free, and all my friends will come to tea!" Then I sang "seventy days" and fifty and forty, right down to "In four more days I shall be free!"
I planned a midnight party for the very moment when the bans expired and I could open wide my gate to friends for the first time in five years. They would walk right down the garden path and into my house. I had a great need to get out of Johannesburg after all that time so I planned to fly to Durban and then go by boat to Cape Town and back again. I even bought the tickets.
At about eight o'clock on the evening of Friday, 27 October. I heard the knock on the door. I knew who it was because no one ever knocked on my door except the security police. I opened the door to the two men standing there, but I did not invite them in. They handed me three sheets of paper ”” the mixture exactly as before. Traces of their evil aura seemed to float about so I closed the door on them before I looked at the papers ”” another five years of house arrest and all the other restrictions, another five years of reporting to the police.
The realisation of what this meant was like a dull pain in my chest. I felt stunned; unable to make myself do anything except sit in a chair and look at those damnably hurtful papers lying in my lap. I had of course accepted the possibility that this might happen, but being human, I had allowed myself to hope. I knew then how foolish I had been, but planning had been fun and I did not regret it.
Now there would be no midnight party, no holiday, no boat trip and no freedom, only the continuation of everything I had borne for the past five years. At first I was almost too shocked to be angry. Then I began to feel a bitter, deep wrath against the Nationalist government, against the security police, against the whole system. I had felt it often enough on behalf of others, now I felt it for myself. Yet not once did I feel that I could not go on. I had to. "Side by side ... throughout our lives, sparing nothing of our strength and courage until this liberty has been won." That had been my promise twelve years ago at the Congress of the People. I had to keep that promise.
I went to work next morning. A great wave of sympathy and indignation engulfed me and bore me up at the same time. It came from all sorts of people, by telephone, by telegram, with flowers, in visits to the bookshop, for no one could visit me at home ”” all expressing horror at this cruel extension of persecution. I went home at midday to the first of the next 260 empty weekends. This magnificent support helped me to get through the coming difficult weeks.
The Black Sash protested on behalf of both Lilian Ngoyi and me, for her ban had also been renewed for five more years. Here we were again, the National President and the National Secretary of the Federation of South African Women, side by side in our restrictions, yet unable to communicate with each other.
At the police station, the policemen on duty when I came to report stopped counting off the days with me. "Only four more days, Mrs Joseph," they had said the day before I was re-banned. Now they were silent and so was I.
It did not make matters easier that soon after this a senior officer of the South African police bought the house next door to me. He and his family could look from their windows right onto my verandah and into my garden. I found this unbearable, yet I would not consider moving. Thanks to the Dean of Johannesburg, however, and his friends, within weeks a seven-foot concrete wall was erected, giving me the privacy I craved. Later I grew a forest of tall shrubs and trees in front of the wall, making my small garden even more private.
The policeman, interviewed by the press, asserted that he had bought the house "without the slightest knowledge of who his neighbours would be". This seemed strange in view of the state's decision to place me under a further five years' house arrest. He was, moreover, the second senior officer in command at the large and important police station in Norwood. It was hard to believe that he did not know where this "dangerous" woman lived. Did the police really believe that my home was a hotbed of intrigue, of conspiracy, of planning for insurrection? I did of course meet some of my banned friends secretly elsewhere, but with the threat of gaol hanging over our heads. That fleeting contact was simply to sustain ourselves through those awful years, not to plot subversion.
I soon settled down again into my house-arrest way of life, although I realised that I must plan some sort of constructive occupation for the weekends and the evenings. I no longer had the Medical Aid Society research to do at home, Nora book to write, as I had had in the first five years. I knew that even if I planned any reading or study course on my own, I would not keep to it without some form of external discipline. My thoughts turned to a university course. I realised how little I actually knew about the faith to which I had recently returned, so I registered for the external Bachelor of Divinity degree with the University of London. It was very ambitious of me, but I told myself that it would not matter if I failed the exams because they were simply to discipline me and keep me on course.
Thus, at the age of sixty-two, I became a theological student and had much difficulty in persuading people that I really had no ambition to become the first ordained woman priest in South Africa. The qualifying year was quite a struggle because I had to learn New Testament Greek. I used to write out declensions and tenses on cards and prop them up on the windscreen of my car, memorising them as I drove to work.
During 1968 I left the bookshop. True, I did not have much choice of alternative employment and I doubt that I should have gone far to seek it, but an opportunity presented itself. I was finding the bookshop a strain in many ways, grateful, as I was to have a job at all. The daily reporting to the police took up almost all of my lunch hour. Parking facilities in the city seemed to move ever farther from the bookshop so that I had less time to visit my friends after work.
Some friends owned a hotel in Roodepoort, west of Johannesburg, and therefore outside my permitted orbit. They offered me a job helping them with the office work and the management of the hotel. My work hours would be shorter and the fifteen miles each way would take no longer than it did to get through the city traffic from Norwood and then walk from the parking ground to the shop. It seemed to me that it would be a more peaceful life and although I turned it down initially, I finally accepted.
I had to apply to the magistrate for permission to leave the area of Johannesburg. The magistrate in turn had to consult the security police and all this took several weeks. Finally permission was granted and my restriction cage was doubled to include both the Johannesburg and Roodepoort areas.
I left my job in the big city and became a suburban hotel bookkeeper with occasional excursions into the supervision of the hotel bedrooms and the kitchen. Hotel housekeeping proved not to be my vocation so I arranged to work part time and restrict myself to the bookkeeping. The greatest disadvantage was that my friends could not contact me as easily as in the bookshop because of the distance from Johannesburg. On the other hand, reporting to the police was far easier than before as it took only fifteen minutes.
My interest in theology grew and my studies absorbed many evenings and weekends. I wrote my first examinations, in New Testament Greek, in June 1969, already sixty-four, very apprehensive of undignified failure. I was forbidden by my bans to enter any university premises so had to make private arrangements for the examination and for an invigilator. As always the Community of Resurrection came to my rescue. Their spacious Priory library was approved by London University as an examination centre.
On a bitterly cold morning I wrote the examination, wrapped in a heavy black monk's cloak, also kindly supplied by the Priory. Brother Norwood Coaker, a QC, but long since retired from legal practice, invigilated for me. We had to complete archaic forms relating to the circumstances in which I was writing the examination. One question read, "If the candidate is a female and the invigilator is of the opposite sex, was a third person present?" I found this concern for my virtue very amusing, especially since Brother Norwood was eighty and I was sixty-four. However, we truthfully answered "No" and I wondered whether this might disqualify me from the examination. It obviously did not. I passed and could go on to further theological studies.
Despite all this, the years were dragging. Many people were now under house arrest. Other bans had been renewed and there was always a question in my mind as to whether I should ever again be free, even when this second set of bans came to an end. A very influential friend from my pre-political years wrote to me to say that he was sure that if I gave an assurance of good behaviour and expressed regret for the past, he could persuade the authorities to set me free. This angered me so much that I destroyed the letter without replying. It did not, however, completely destroy our friendship of so many years and we are still friends today. Indeed, that was how many people regarded me, as an unrepentant sinner.
My brother in England asked me to consider returning but at the same time acknowledged that he was sure I would not agree. For me, to leave South Africa and return to England was unthinkable. South Africa is my land by adoption, even if not by birth. For me to leave would be the ultimate betrayal. I was not being a martyr about this. I wanted to stay in South Africa, to be side by side with my friends in the struggle, whether banished, banned or in gaol. Perhaps it might cost me dear. I did not know, but the greater price would have been to leave.
Sometimes it would be put to me that I could do more by going than by staying. It was true that in those sterile years I was politically hamstrung by my bans and house arrest, by the outlawing of the Congress of Democrats and the crippling of the Federation by the banning of so many of its members. The years seemed sometimes to grow ever emptier for me. Yet all I had to do was to ask myself the question, "Is there really anything that I could do overseas that someone else there could not do equally well or better?" I knew that the answer would always be "No".
It has always seemed to me that I can achieve something simply by staying in South Africa. I cannot articulate this clearly and I have never been able to, but in my heart it is as strong as any tenet of my faith. I could not see into the future. I did not know whether there would ever again be any political activity in which I could participate, or if I should ever again be free. I only knew that I had to stay. I could not take any easy way out.
I thought very often about William Letlalo. As an old man, he had been placed under house arrest for twenty-four hours every day. He could never go out of his tiny matchbox house in Soweto. It was a typical township house and there are hundreds of thousands of them, rows and rows of little hutches, with a million black people living in them. These houses have four tiny rooms, including the kitchen. The toilets are outside and there are no bathrooms. They are still there today, twenty years later, and there is an endless waiting list for them, for thousands of people who have no homes.
I Perhaps William Letlalo was fortunate after all. He had a home and there were not twelve or thirteen people living in it. There was only himself and his wife. I doubt that in his loneliness he thought of that as good fortune. He remained in that little matchbox house for four years, walking only the few yards to his front gate for exercise and to look at the world and the people passing him by.
William Letlalo was seventy when this even more awful twenty-four-hour house arrest was inflicted on him. He was seventy-nine when the house arrest was lifted. He was eighty-three when the other bans expired. I knew him, a wiry old man, very active and a leader of his people despite his age. When I thought of those four terrible years of imprisonment in that small house, I found little room for self-pity in my own years of house arrest, free to move during the daylight hours, living in my comfortable home and in my comfortable white suburb, as I had always done.
By the end of 19701 had already been under house arrest for 3,000 days. It didn't seem so much in later years, when others endured this gaol on the cheap for much longer, but I was the first to reach this point and the press took it up. It seemed to focus attention, not only on me but also on others. The editor of the Rand Daily Mail wrote, She is not the only one under house arrest or deprived arbitrarily of human rights. But somehow her case typifies all that is evil in this society. How old does she have to be before the State feels safe enough to stop persecuting her in the name of security?
I remembered William Letlalo and I thought I might well have to be another ten years older! In his amusing political "gossip" column in the Sunday Times, Joel Mervis described an imaginary meeting of Nationalist Party supporters at which the speaker thundered, "We have the finest army in the world, the finest airforce, the finest navy ”” what do we have to be afraid of? (Voice from the back) 'HELEN JOSEPH'."
At the beginning of my house arrest I had received numerous abusive and threatening phone calls. Towards the end of 1970 a new manifestation of the evil that flourishes in our South African society appeared in my life. This plague was different at first. After it had died down I could see the comic side, but at the time it was acutely harassing.
It started off with a clumsy attempt to steal my car in broad daylight from the hotel yard and deposit it in a service station for unneeded repairs ”” where I should not be able to find it. This attempt was frustrated by the hotel head waiter, who warned me that mechanics were removing my car and he was doubtful about it because they didn't have the car keys and had not asked for me. As it happened the mechanics were innocent. They had simply obeyed a telephone instruction from a man who, it turned out, had given a false name and address. I reported it to the police but got little interest and less help.
That was the beginning of a stream of hoaxes that went on for a few days, all carefully worked out and no two the same. Lorry-loads of topsoil or coal or sand or paving stones were delivered COD to my house, or dumped outside in my absence, and then I would find an invoice to say that I had ordered the goods COD. It took some time to explain to bewildered and indignant merchants that it was they who had been hoaxed. Eager salesmen called to take measurements for a swimming pool and gazed unbelievingly at my tiny garden where no swimming pool would fit.
Then came the first telephone death threat. It was after an agonising evening of trying to persuade some twenty or thirty would-be tenants that I had not advertised my home to let at a ridiculously low rental. I had difficulty in dissuading them from coming right onto the premises or to convince them that this was forbidden territory. Finally I went out and bought strong padlocks for the gates.
It was hard to make people believe that all this was a hoax and not my hoax either. I soon got very tired of that word, but it was the only way I could make people understand what was going on. It was even more difficult to convey any motive for it all because the hoaxed people were typical white South Africans, unlikely to feel any sympathy towards my brand of politics.
A very quiet English voice asked to speak to Mrs Helen Joseph. "Now don't put the phone down. I have a very important message for you." I waited. "I am coming tonight to get you and kill you." I slammed the phone down and called the police who said they could do nothing about it. They wanted to know why I was under house arrest and why my husband did not protect me. They finally conceded that they would tell the patrol to watch out. I did not find that very comforting. I padlocked both gates and the garage, made some supper and some strong coffee and went to bed. I left every light burning all night, both inside the house and outside. I closed all the windows, double locked the doors and slept in my slacks with my dog, Dinah, privileged for once, lying beside me. I memorised the flying squad telephone number. I prayed too from the Psalm, "Thou shalt not be afraid for any terror by night..." Then I fell asleep, waking once or twice during the night, but all was quiet.
I was left undisturbed at the weekend except for one telephone call with no voice, only maniacal laughter and another caller who, when I asked to whom he wished to speak, said threateningly, "To my victim!"
After press publicity and a prod from Helen Suzman, the Progressive Party MP, the police began to show some interest. A colonel called ceremoniously to see me, suggesting first that it might be my husband or some very personal enemy. I assured him that he was wrong on both counts. His next suggestion was that it might be my "former political associates" with whom I had severed my connection. That made me very angry and I reminded him that it was the government who had severed these connections and not I. I asserted that my political views were unchanged and that everyone knew it.
He then informed me that for two weeks my telephone would be monitored every day. I found this an amusing piece of news, for I had ample proof that my telephone had been monitored already for some considerable period, but I kept a straight face. He assured me that every effort would be made to trace the telephone calls. In fact there were no more at that time and I was duly notified I after fourteen days that my telephone was no longer monitored.
It took me a little time to develop indifference to these nasty incidents. I half expected to find sacks of coal or loads of sand whenever I came home from work or angry would-be tenants awaiting me. In fact there had been another advertisement that my house was to let. This time my telephone number was given and I could deal with the numerous queries by telephone. That was often unpleasant, but it was better than having people come to the house for nothing.
My friends urged me not to live alone but to apply for permission to have someone else staying in the house. I did not want to do this, to ask for favours from the minister to alleviate a situation, which he himself had deliberately imposed upon me. What I did not know was that I could in fact always have had boarders or lodgers in my house because once there was payment; they could no longer be termed visitors. Yet I doubt that I could have shared my house even if I had known this. I had bought it because I wanted to live alone. In any event I would have been reluctant to bring any other person into my house if there was really to be danger or violence.
One night in May 1971,1 had been working late at my desk when I noticed that it was already after midnight and decided to retire. I let Dinah out into the garden for her last run. She rushed to the gate barking loudly and Fiercely and I hesitated for a moment, thinking there must be a cat in the garden. As she persisted, I decided to investigate, but by the time I had reached the gate she had stopped barking. I looked up and down the road in the moonlight. All seemed quiet so I went to bed without giving it any further thought.
Early the next morning I went to open the drive gates. I saw an oblong packet with a lot of string attached to it lying in the drive. It looked like some sort of child's toy kite. I picked it up, turned it over and saw what looked like a couple of batteries in the open back. They were attached to a long piece of electric flex, not string as I had first thought. It seemed to come from a bush at the side of the drive near the gate. By this time I was suspicious. I put the packet down carefully on the ground. It was clear that it was no child's toy. I telephoned the police, who sent a bomb disposal team.
It turned out to be an amateur bomb, which would have exploded when I opened the drive gates. It was very smart, but Dinah had been smarter, as she had startled the would-be bombers the night before and they had fled, leaving their contraption lying in the middle of the driveway, instead of hiding it. I asked the bomb experts how powerful it might have been and got the casual reply, "Oh, probably not lethal but you might have lost an arm or leg." I didn't find that comforting but I took some malicious pleasure in remarking to the security policeman in attendance, "How nice to see you in my service for once." He did not reply.
Dinah had certainly saved me from any possible injury. She had done more than that; she had brought me to my senses. For more than two months I had been aware of a growing lump in my left breast. I knew that I ought to have it investigated at once, but I deliberately held back, unbelievably on political grounds. I must have been more depressed by the house arrest than I realised. I was becoming obsessed by the idea that it would never come to an end. It would just be repeated every five years. I had already come through the first period and four years of the second period. When 31 October 1972 came, what then? The minister had the power to renew house arrest every five years, in fact for as long as he liked. He had done it to me once. What was to stop him from doing it again ”” and again ”” and again?
I was feeling very frustrated politically although I knew that I did serve some purpose, if only that I had become prominent. Anything that happened to me, as the first house-arrested person, was news. In this way I brought the plight of people restricted like myself constantly to public notice. Otherwise many of us would have become forgotten people, like the banished Africans.
I was very ignorant about the medical aspects of cancer, fearing that it would just mean being patched up to wait for the cancer to reappear in some other area. But, I thought, I was nearly sixty-six and I was not sure that I wanted to live to an old age in loneliness, especially in house-arrest conditions. Surely it would be better to let go now and face what might be coming to me, for I had no doubt at all that this was cancer. I actually hoped that my death from cancer while under house arrest might prevail upon the government to abandon this cruel persecution altogether. I knew that for me to die in this way, under house arrest at sixty-six, would have international repercussions.
I do not, of course, know how far I would ultimately have gone in this obsession, but it made me very happy at the time to think that I might be able to twist this cancer to political advantage. My death could be more significant than my life. I did not allow myself to think of what physical suffering I might be drawing upon myself.
The bomb escape made a deep impact on me ”” not fear, but the realisation that my way of thinking might be wrong. Perhaps Dinah's intervention was more meaningful than it had appeared, perhaps it was to teach me that I must go on living, that there was still work for me to do, that I could not give up, no matter how much use I thought I might be by dying. This was not for me to decide.
Within a few days I went to the General Hospital. The diagnosis was second stage cancer with a slight possibility of third stage as I had left it dangerously late. An urgent operation was necessary. It was only half an hour after I came back from the hospital, knowing now the folly of my earlier decision, that I had a call from Colonel Johann Coetzee of the security police. Such telephone calls invariably create apprehension because refusal to co-operate can lead to detention without trial with all its attendant evils.
For me, the whole horror of the security police and their power is somehow embodied in the personality and person of this man, who already in 1982, held the rank of lieutenant general in the South African police force and head of the security police. He has been in the background of my life since my very early political days, when he held the modest rank of detective sergeant, a shorthand writer in the police force. In the 1950s he used to appear at our meetings to take down our speeches in his competent shorthand, a dapper young man of medium height, with smooth dark hair and moustache. If it had not been for the sports jacket and grey flannel trousers, almost the uniform of the security branch, he might have passed for a young business executive, with his inevitable briefcase. However, he soon graduated to grey suits with pastel shirts and muted, subdued coloured ties.
Sergeant Coetzee's face was always expressionless, his movements controlled. He betrayed no emotion, even when some of us were deliberately rude to him, as we usually were to all security policemen. His effect on me was to turn me into a British iceberg, for his total lack of emotion evoked in me a deeply rooted dislike and complete distrust. At the treason trial we once flared into open confrontation (if mute on my side), when he swore on oath in the witness box that he had been present at a meeting of the Federation of South African Women in the Johannesburg Trades Hall in 195 5 and that he had taken his notes publicly. I knew that he had not been visibly present at that meeting. I had been on the platform throughout and knew personally the only two white men who had been there. They were press reporters and Sergeant Coetzee was not one of them. I don't know where he was, whether on the roof listening through the fanlight, or hiding in a cupboard, but I do know beyond all doubt that his claim that he sat through the meeting in full view is not true. It was a small meeting, not more than 200 women present, and I knew everybody in that hall.
Since then our paths have crossed occasionally. Our contempt and dislike is obviously mutual. It has been said of General Coetzee that his eyes never come alive; they are drained of expression. Yet a friend has said that she would not like to be in the crossbeam of mutual venom, which shoots from our eyes if we are in the same place. Our eyes meet and hold our faces are taut with mutual antagonism.
When Winnie Mandela was in detention in 1969, Johann Coetzee told her that he would get Helen Joseph behind bars one day. He had been trying to do this for fifteen years, he said, and he would do it.
Today this one-time shorthand writer has reached the pinnacle of success. He is now the head of the South African police. As such, I must hold him responsible for the indescribable cruelty and torture, even to death, which is meted out to political detainees, held incommunicado and without trial. I am old and banned and listed and unable to function politically as I should wish, yet I would not change places with General Coetzee, Commissioner of Police. I can live with myself. I do not know if he can.
In that telephone call, Colonel Coetzee, as he was then, said that there were a few matters he would like to discuss with me, including my failure to report to the police the previous month. It was true. I had forgotten again, now for the third time, and had been waiting to be arrested and charged. I replied as casually as I could that I had news for him; I was about to be admitted to hospital for an urgent major operation for cancer.
I certainly took him by surprise. After a noticeable silence, he expressed concern in his controlled voice and suggested that the discussion should be postponed. I replied that I should be interested to know what it was all about and would make an appointment before I went into hospital. But when I phoned again, the control was gone and he said angrily, "What I have to say to you, Mrs Joseph, will take a very long time. There is no point in going on with it now."
I had much to see to in those few days, my work at the hotel, arrangements for the house and my cat and dog. I had also to apply to the magistrate for permission to leave my house to go to hospital and to be excused from the daily reporting to the police. In retrospect, I regret that I so dutifully made these incredible applications. In the circumstances, I could hardly have been arrested for failing to do so.
On the day before the operation, the news came out in the press that I was in hospital for major cancer surgery. I had not, nor I am sure had the hospital, expected such widespread publicity and indignation as burst forth over the fact that I should still be technically under house arrest at such a time. I was deeply moved by the concern of all who knew me, and of many who did not.
My fellow patients in the ward were stunned when they found out who I was and I suppose the nurses were, too. Mostly they were very sympathetic, although not really understanding what it was all about, except that they now had a "Commie" in their midst, but a strange Commie who was visited by priests and even bishops and took Holy Communion in the mornings.
I am sure; all the same, that everyone was delighted by the masses of beautiful flowers, which brightened up the large ward. There were even real lilies-of-the-valley brought direct from an English garden by a friend who carried them, wrapped in cottonwool in his sponge bag, throughout his flight from England. They were so delicate and pure, so exquisite; I can never forget them.
Visitors were a problem. I was still not officially allowed to be with more than one person at a time. but my friends crowded around my bed during the short visiting hours, regardless of my bans. Then the matron informed me that the security police had threatened to station a policeman in the ward during visiting hours if my visitors were not restricted. After that my friends queued up at the door, coming in one by one, rather as they came to my gate on Christmas Day.
In reply to my application to have a friend to stay with me on my discharge from hospital and also to be permitted then to receive visitors to my house, the magistrate, obviously under the instructions of the security police, had demanded the names and addresses of all of them. I was outraged by this and refused to comply with his request.
Helen Suzman, still fighting her gallant and lonely battle in Parliament as the lone Progressive Party MP, came to see me in hospital. She had approached the Minister of Justice for the lifting of my house arrest at this critical time in my life. He had commented that even if I lost both arms and legs I should still be a nuisance. He would not commit himself.
I had to have some radiotherapy after the very successful operation. This would keep me in hospital unless I could have some attention at home, so I had to resign myself to staying there. Meanwhile the scandal of Helen Joseph, sixty-six years old, still in hospital after a cancer operation, was growing, both in South Africa and overseas. I am sure I was becoming an embarrassment to the government and it was not lessened by some pungent articles in the English press.
The London Daily Mail had said:
Now she is sixty-six. She has had a very serious operation . . . will she still be penalised? Still kept in the solitude of house arrest? If she is, the charge against the South African government will be one of slow murder.
Bernard Levin of The Times had written in his column:
Without wishing to be indelicate, I must point out that she presumably has two breasts; if the operation she is at present having is for the removal of one, she could always, when she felt like a further spell of human society, pop into hospital and have the other off. After that, there is plenty more scope; here a hand, there a foot, anon a womb ”” she could pretty well have herself dismantled piecemeal before the South African government twigged what was going on and put a stop to it, and each time she could have anything up to a fortnight of the positively Sardanapalian luxury of talking to other human beings.
He added that since the house arrest had apparently failed to break me, "the torment has for years now been an end in itself".
I shall always believe that such articles and such widespread publicity played a large part in the sudden change of attitude on the part of the government. One afternoon two security policeman came to my ward, bringing a letter from the Secretary for Justice to say that my restriction orders were suspended until further notice. I was free ”” after nine years.
When the news spread, there was great excitement amongst the hospital staff. They came pouring in, including the matron herself, to congratulate me. I was allowed to have a champagne party when my jubilant friends arrived to share my freedom with me. Within two days I was permitted to go home, not to an empty house but to a house with people in it, people coming to it, all day, every day ”” to make up for the lost years. It was a new world.