HEN I drive out to Henry Tiedemann’s house near Heidelberg in Gauteng, I am expecting to hear a story about a man’s love for his old, collectible car. What I hear instead is a real love story.
The day Henry bought his Triumph Spitfire new in 1968 was also the day that he met Paula, the woman who would become his wife.
The Spitfire is there 48 years later. Henry and Paula are still together 48 years later.
They have slightly differing memories of the day, though.
Henry says that being a young man with a hip two-seater sports car, he was keen to do what all young men of his age would do… find an attractive “seat cover” for the passenger seat.
To be fair that’s my description because I was a bit like that at that age.
Henry and his friend ended up at Paula’s family’s place – the five girls in that family were well known as lookers.
Paula propped up in bed (she is battling with bone cancer) chuckles and reminds Henry that the day they met, he asked her sister out because she couldn’t go.
“I had studying to do and wasn’t prepared to drop everything.”
However, she reminds Henry he was “spitting mad” when he got back to her house and found her chatting to a friend.
“He was so cross but, really, I saw that boy a few times when I was 14, a long time before.”
It didn’t take long, though, before Henry (who was then a tool and die maker) and Paula became