by Mary Molteno
Source: Chronicle, Vol 1, No 1, April 1913
In this delightful little cameo, Mary Molteno, the eldest daughter of Dr Victor Molteno and his wife, Edith, describes my father Donald’s 5th birthday party along with his cousin Betty’s. Their mothers, Lil Molteno and Nelly Bisset, have organized it on the beach at Fish Hoek. This is the next bay on from Kalk Bay where several members of the family had holiday cottages. Donald’s grandfather, Col. Sandeman, is out from England staying with his daughter, and so is able to be present. And there is a whole gathering of youngsters in the extended family. They include Wallace and Lil’s daughter, Aimee; Charlie and Lucy Molteno’s children, Charles and Peter; Dr Kenah Murray and Hilda’s offspring, Lorna and Stewart; as well as Betty’s brother, Eldred, and various others.
Aunt Lil and Cousin Nelly gave a large children’s picnic at Fish Hoek on Wednesday, February 11, to celebrate the birthday of Betty Bisset and Donald Molteno. About 50 people (mostly members of the family) were invited, and we all went down by the 2.30 train. It was a beautiful afternoon, the only drawback being a very strong wind, but in spite of that, the picnic was a great success. First of all, the little ones bathed. They all enjoyed it so much that it was quite difficult to make them come out of the water. It was really a very pretty sight to see them all playing about in the waves. Peter Molteno made quite a little picture standing in the water, the wind blowing all his curls about. Lorna Murray swam very nicely and did not mind getting a ducking, neither did Eldred Bisset who must rather have enjoyed it as he was constantly going under. The tiny ones, namely Aimee and Donald Molteno, Stewart Murray, and Charles Molteno were very independent and preferred bathing quite alone further along the beach.
When they were eventually dressed, there was time for one game of cricket before tea. Col. Sandeman had kindly brought down his bathing tent, which was very useful all through the afternoon. As soon as it was fixed up, we bathed. When we were dressed, we joined the little ones all sitting down, having their tea, which was spread out on the sand under the shade of some rocks. Betty and Donald sat facing each other in front of their birthday cakes. The table was prettily arranged with crackers and sweets. After tea, the children enjoy themselves, playing in the sand or paddling. Later on someone told the little ones stories, to which they listened with great delight. It being summer, most of us stayed until the 7 o’clock train. It was lovely then and we were all sorry to leave.