Clinching the Deal

My brother Brian got well as soon as Dad got the job at the G & P Mine and we moved to the big house and garden at #1 Silver Oaks Road. Brian watering the larkspurs along the path to the garden gat opposite the G & P Mine Club soon after our arrival May 1946

 May 1946.  My brother Brian got well as soon as Dad took the job at the G & P Mine and we moved to the big house and garden at #1 Silver Oaks Road. Brian watering the larkspurs and lupines along the path to the garden gate opposite the G & P Mine Club.

Clinching the Deal

By 1946, Dr. Zacks had been in Que Que as the mine doctor for the Globe and Phoenix Mine for ten years and was anxious to move on.  But he could not find a replacement.

Clinching the Deal

Flying in a small Rapide, my dad stopped off in Salisbury on his way home to Johannesburg having just turned down a job offer to join a practice in Nairobi. In army uniform, he was riding pro bono as the guest of the daughter of the Chairman of Johannesburg Stock he had just met at the Norfolk Hotel bar.  Despondent that the job did not pan out, she encouraged him to check out a job opportunity in Que Que they heard of along the way as they hop scotched down Africa.  He was welcomed, encouraged and hosted by Michael Gelfand, the doyen of the medical community in Salisbury.  His spirits rose.  He had nothing to lose. He arrived in Que Que on the two am. train and was met by Dr. Zacks.

Everything was fresh and green after summer rain. He was taken with the spacious garden at #1 Silver Oaks Road. The Government hospital was new and included a theatre, but he noted from the surgical roster that Zacks’ repertoire was restricted to the uterine curette.  He’d have free rein to expand.

Dr. Zacks had a reputation.  He was darkly handsome, six foot two, with a short manicured waxed mustache.  The house was opposite the mine club. He could even beat Mr. Goodyear at snooker. He was a great poker player.  He was vice president of the tennis club, played rugby, cricket and golf.

Dad had bought his first tennis racket at university and gave a good account of himself with the other housemen (interns) but golf clubs were a luxury he couldn’t hope to afford.  (He had once earned more from his poker winnings than he had as a houseman).

By the time he left on the train the following night Zacks was desperate for him to take the practice. His wife had already departed. He had had no other candidates and none were on the horizon.  Dad was anxious to take up the position. But both men were poker players.

After the train had shuddered into motion, Zacks shouted out, “If you’ll take the job I’ll throw in the golf clubs!”

Dad stayed in Que Que for thirty years and  kept the golf clubs until the day he died.


  • betty

    Reply Reply April 20, 2012

    Love this story! How wonderful that all the small unimportant events led to your dad’s lifetime achievement in the medical field, and really improved the conditions and opportunities of the medical practice for all the people of QueQue! Bravo! In the picture, what did you mean that Brian got well after the move?

    • Diana

      Reply Reply April 21, 2012

      Betty, During the war temporary housing and constant moves took their toll on my mother with a baby that failed to thrive, hence a priority was a sense of permanency and this big rambling house and huge garden that came with the job made the job very attractive besides the fact that professionally the hospital offered him the reign in the theatre. Diana

  • Chris Duckworth

    Reply Reply April 26, 2012

    And the golf clubs today?… Resting in the Golf Museum at St. Andrews?… And when in Salisbury Dr. Zack’s called me, and asked if I’d spend a couple of afternoons during the school holidays coaching his boy and friends… That was in the days of the launch of the Russian sputnik…
    Interesting memories…

    • Diana

      Reply Reply April 27, 2012

      Yes, interesting how there is six degrees of separation.

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