When I was 17 I decided I don’t want to be this guy Johann, I wanted to be Don. I only discovered what it meant later. Don means a nobleman. My chosen surname is Cliff. Cliff Richard didn’t bring me any luck. I did meet him, he is a great guy.
At age 5, my mother (bless her soul) took me to see ‘Show Boat’. It was the sad story of Eva Gardner who falls in love with a gambler. It was such a beautiful movie I still remember it to this day. She took me by the hand and we went to the movies.
She was always singing in the car. We didn’t have a radio in the car, mom was always singing. The first song she taught me to sing was ‘Beautiful Brown Eyes’ (I don’t know who sang it) and ‘Goodnight Irene’ I must have been 6 or 7.
She never swore. She only had one word if she was angry or cross; which was seldom. Instead of saying bloody she would say blerry (Afrikaans derivative).
The only time she gave me a hiding was at the age of 8 or 9 when I lied to her when I was trying to smoke. She asked if I had smoked and I said no. She said she could smell it and that I was lying and gave me a hiding. I haven’t smoked since.
In finality of my mother (bless her) she only wanted to see the good in people and told me to be humble. Bless her.