“We all get old, but I have my share of ups and downs” – Justin Greville. (Pevensey Resident since 1972)
Justin Greville says these words slowly, carefully as if he is trying not to hear himself saying them. This in the middle of sharing his story with me. The Justin Greville song. A tale of his love for music, food, family and an infectious connection with the Pevensey family.
Having come to Pevensey on the 8th of April 1972, Justin recalls that he left the following year and went back to Johannesburg to take a break. There he occupied himself by working in a CNA record bar. I immediately reflect on the huge collection of records and tapes that the guy has in his room, and note that this was indeed a perfect fit for him. Justin loves music. Europe, The Bee Gees, Black Sabbath and Credence Clearwater Revival are some of the groups that fly off the tip of his tongue. I google and find Europe’s hit (The final count down).It starts to play and no words can describe the emotion that lands on his facial features. Pure joy as he travels down memory lane! Justin has a special connection with music, which was obviously honed or enhanced during his time at CNA, where he worked with a Mr Norton, Miss Glassier and a chap called Neil. He throws these names in as he paints a picture of relaxation, accepting the dominance of the song on his total being.
Upon his return to Pevensey Place in 1974, Justin found his space in the chicken run where he collected and cleaned eggs. He also had stints in the vegetable garden. And later he was appointed to work at the main gate “all by myself for a long time” he says with pride. Through this journey, Justin remembers all the people whose job it was to look after him and drive the Pevensey project forward. He speaks fondly of Tom and Sue Hannon, who opened their arms to welcome him when he came in 1972. Peter and Vicky Little, who came up from their farm to help the Hannons. Bob and Marian Moulder who had taken over when Justin made his second coming in 1974. Piere and Maggie Lots (whom he describes as warm and gentle people). Mrs Di Botha and Mr Andre Hugo are some of the staff members who have taken a special place in Justin’s heart.
There has also been special people in Justin’s life. Indeed, matters of the heart do not spare anyone. A man who loves his music will also seek out women to love.When I asked Justin about his love life, his whole demeanor transforms into total relaxation; This is not going to be a hard subject to recall, and the names of three ladies who have captured his heart over the years, . Carey Buckle, Janet Martin and Norma Dean! Carey and Janet left Pevensey some years back, and Norma lived at Pevensey until she passed on in 2013. Justin remembers the good times, the walks and the chats he had with each of these girls with fondness. Carey Buckle and Janet Martin left pevensey, and Norma Dean passed away on the 1st of January 2014 after a short illness. Justin confided in me that he has his eye set on someone, now that he has been ‘alone’ for a long time.
Building a circle of friends is important as we journey through life. Justin has established a lovely friendship with Charles Higgindon, and he has a number of residents he says are ‘very nice friends.’ Michael Passmore, Michael Kenealy, James Butler-Porter and Daniel Pienaar all got cute reviews. Justin speaks generously about other individuals, which offers the clearest insight that he is a very sociable guy. It comes as no surprise then, when he rolls straight into thanking the Underberg community, whom he says “helped him a lot” over the years. Working at the main gate, in the vegetable garden and in the laundry, over the years, Justin has rubbed shoulders with countless volunteers who flock to Pevensey to provide assistance in running programmes at our home. Their kindness did left a permanent mark on Justin.
So the music goes on. Justin’s family are ever so supportive. Brothers and cousins take turns to have him over holiday times, and they constantly come to Pevensey to visit. This indeed is home! This indeed is a place to sit back, reflect on all the good times as the music plays. And reflect on all the good people who have crossed his path and painted beautiful pictures which they punctuated in wonderful music and song!
Come on you life! Although you come with your ups and downs, we thank God for human kindness. For institutions like Pevensey Place where Justin continues to find joy and fulfillment. A place where special people connect and network to create a melody for Justin and friends to dance along to as the years roll up and down in a pitch perfect tune.