Elizabeth Lakay Meyer, 67, better known as Lizzy, prayed for years to find her biological family, but she didn’t know where to start looking.
Born on January 24 1949, Ms Meyer said her foster mother Lillian Hartzenberg told her she had found “her in a shoebox in the bush”. She remembers growing up with her foster family in 14 Upper Richmond Road, Elsies River.
She also recalls her two siblings, Ruth Hartzenberg and brother Ronald Wilson.
But Ms Meyer did not have sweet memories of her foster family.
“I remember how my mother abused me, and when I was 15, I ran away from home.”
She found a job in Stikland, Bellville, but, “I was knocked over by a car and the people who found me sent me back to my foster mother.”
Ms Meyer was not welcome. “I was chased away”.
The rest of her teenage years she spent on the street. She was involved with the wrong friends and ended up in jail. “I was only in my twenties when I was jailed for murder. I spent five years overall in Worcester and Pollsmoor prisons,” she said as tears welled up.
Life was full of turmoil, exacerbated by drinking and smoking dagga while working as a “char”.
“I felt my life was already over.”
However, she met her husband, Jeffery, in Lansdowne, and they moved to Vrygrond in 1991. She was still smoking and drinking and life took a bad turn when her husband fell ill with tuberculosis. “He was taken to Brooklyn Chest Hospital where he received treatment.”
Ms Meyer was traumatised with the thought of losing her husband.
“I attended an open service on a gravel patch in Vrygrond. I heard the words of the priest saying, ‘The Lord is only a phone call away.’ Later that week, I attended a tent service in Lavender Hill and started to pray for him. The Lord heard my prayers.”
When she went to visit her husband in hospital she was met with good news.
“They told me that the X-rays show he doesn’t have to go for a lung operation anymore because there was no need to.”
She said she believed it was God’s grace. “I got the message from Him.”
Although Ms Meyer always thought of her real family, she never pursued looking for them. However, after the shock of her husband’s ordeal, she was determined to find them. “I always wanted to know where they were. I remember my foster parents taking me to Paarl every week without my siblings. I wondered if they were not taking me to my relatives.”
She said once she went to her foster sister Ruth’s house in Elsies River, but she didn’t want to open the door for her. “Soon after my visit, I heard that she had died.”
Ms Meyer appeals to anyone who has information about her past to get into contact.
Mymoena Scholtz, founder of the NGO, Where Rainbows Meet, who introduced Southern Mail to Ms Meyer, said: “I just want Lizzy to find closure. We can feel her pain and suffering from those years as she was emotionally traumatised. She now suffers from arthritis, asthma and her leg was injured in the accident she had. It would mean a lot to her if her relatives come forward so that she can find peace in her heart.”
If anyone has information, contact Ms Scholtz on 078 038 4553 or 021 701 0328.