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Fast Times at UCT: the Etienne Droulez Story

An ATWI77D Exclusive

Legal Disclaimer: the following events are retold in the Dossin/Droulez spirit of "telling a good story, not a true one." If the described party feels that these events are not depicted correctly, this is not the forum to dispute.

After a long hiatus, I have returned to the blog with many new stories to tell. Luckily, most of the best ones have to do with my father's years at college, so along with some amazing pictures that I will try to scan, I learned more of my parents past. Here are my favorite highlights:

Flying A's
While playing for the Who Farted Spurs (his club soccer team), a favorite activity of the team was called the "Flying A." Appropriately, this involved putting a piece of paper between your bum cheeks, lighting it, and seeing if you could run 100 meters before feeling the burn. I propose this be the new exercise to literally light a fire under US Soccer and propel us to World Cup glory.

World Traveler
While traveling around the world, my dad did as I am doing now and stayed with family in Belgium. One night, he wanted to go out with one of his good friends, but, because they were in a rural area, he needed to borrow a car to find something to do. Despite not being given permission by his relatives, he waited until they were asleep and snuck out with the car. While driving, he ended up running over this girl's bike. Once the local family found out and knocked on the door, his relatives were only too happy to oblige him to pay for the mess.

Driveway Shenanigans
One of the favorite activities of my dad was to drive through the driveways of wealthier homes in neighborhoods like Bishop's Court, make a ruckus honking, yelling, and ringing the doorbell, and promptly leaving after he woke the people up. Once, as they were doing this, he and a friend realized that the exit was sealed off, and in their rush to leave they ended up both stalling and hitting the garage door.

Pig and Whistle
One of the mainstay bars for my dad's crew while in uni was the Pig and Whistle. In addition to be a cheap and fun place for a pint, it served as a furniture store of sorts for him. After moving into an apartment, and being a student, he needed a table and chairs to fill his new space. Realizing that the Pig and Whistle had exactly the sturdy tables and long benches for the job, he rounded his mates up and concocted the ingenious plan of throwing them over the wall that separated the patio (putting that engineering degree to work). Using his friends to cover up the merchandise while they moved it, they carefully positioned people on one side to throw and on the other to catch.

Side Note: Since the days of my father there has been a change of ownership for the bar. As such it is no longer recognizable today, as the bottom floor was converted to retail, the patio area out back gone, and the upstairs renovated and renamed the "Pig and Swizzle." I was lucky enough to go to the "Pig and Swizz" as it was called by the group of Americans I found there, dancing around dressed in costumes and acting like the kind of cultural ambassadors that do this country right.

Mr. Photogenic
Among the pictures that have been unarchived include my dad wearing a bath robe (short would be an understatement), one foot with dress socks/shoes, the other foot with a flip-flop, leather ski gloves (could double as those of an undertaker), ski goggles, and an aerosol can of some sort. The other gem includes him and the mates from Smuts Hall standing on a nearby statue and mooning everyone. If anything, these photos have taught me that there is a reason your parents chide you about partying too hard: it comes from experience.

The Mushy Stuff
On a lighter note, I also got to hear some of the stories about my parents while in college, which, coupled with visiting the campus and their dorms, provided some greater context to my eventual creation. As the love story goes, my parents met while my dad was one of the head students in Smuts Hall in his second year and my mom was in the adjacent Fuller Hall as a first year. Apparently, upon meeting my mom he immediately knew she was the one, and had to from then on stop the advances of the many members of the "Etienne Droulez Fan Club." One day, he visited my mom's door unexpectedly, and when she came down the stairs to see who it was, he casually put down his newspaper and asked

"So what movie are we going to see tonight?"

To which my mom, being the subtle person that she is, promptly replied "none" and returned to her room. Despite my mom's initial hesitation, they eventually got together, and after weathering a break up or two, got married and left South Africa. The rest, my friends, is history.

Many thanks to the Aquadro family and Pauline Dossin for their help in piecing this together.

Posted by ldroulez 15:30 Archived in South Africa Tagged family

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