Profiles The F Word

Lego Granny

USING LEGO AS A remedy for her acute arthritis, the engagingly delightful Judy has spent decades creating a wonderland of pleasure with hundreds of items – big and small – housed in transparent shelves in various rooms in the home. She works from Lego manuals. 18-year-old grandson, who worked with Lego from an early age, can create something using his imagination.

The sights that greet the visitor are something to behold, a treasure trove of Lego ingenuity. It features famous buildings such as Buckingham Palace, the Leaning

Husband’s Porcshe

Tower of Pisa, Tower Bridge, The White House, The Pentagon, The Lincoln Memorial, The Taj Mahal, and even the supermarket frequented by that popular TV family, The Simpsons. There is an orange Porsche replica of her husband Martin’s car, a ship from Pirates of the Caribbean, and various war machines from the popular Stars Wars franchise; one fascinating item being the Lambda Class 4A Shuttle.

Disneyland’s Magic Castle is there in all its glory, complete with Disney characters. However, when Judy tried to move it for a photograph it fell apart, much to our horror. Unperturbed by this slight set-back, our redoubtable hostess merely smiled and said: “There is a message here and it’s that the creation is not strong enough and will have to be re-done.” Judy has three children and 12 grandchildren. One of them, 18-year-old Adam, has also succumbed to
the magic of Lego and spends hours with his granny working on them. He has the ability to create the Lego objects using his imagination. Says Judy: “Working together on Lego projects with someone you love is excellent for bonding whether it be fathers and sons, grandfathers and grandchildren. And even grandmothers like me who are happy to be part of this special club.”

Judy is a frequent visitor to Lilliputs, the toy shop where she acquires the different items to be constructed and it’s said that Lego in Denmark has recognised Judy’s talent and dedication to this ‘art’ form. She tells me with a wry smile that every time she starts talking, her husband buys her a new Lego set to keep her quiet.“

Part of the collection

Special days are set aside when nursery schools are allowed into the rooms housing her impressive collection, where the children can view the exhibits, try their hand at making their own, and then having a party. We often take out the Lego trains, we set it up and the children have fun.” Judy says that when she is assembling an architect’s building, like the Guggenheim Museum, she can fully appreciate the thinking that goes into the planning. “Lego also serves as a teaching tool and one can learn about many things. When you assemble a car, the engine parts are so lifelike that you can see how it all fits together.”

Her collection of motor vehicles is impressive, too, and includes a Volksie van, a Jeep, motor bikes, and luxury sports and racing cars. One item is the Yellow Submarine of Beatles fame, and there are miniature images of the Fab Four in front of the exhibit. Batman also has a section to himself. “My fingers are my tools and working with Lego is amazing for my arthritis. The smaller items are the most difficult to manipulate. I think more people, especially the elderly, are now taking to the Lego craze. It’s great therapy.” Some items, such as the Death Star,(Star Wars) took her a week to complete – but it is truly a work of art.

When not engaged in this passion, her other passionate is doing charity work and nothing pleases her more than paying back to the community. “I am so blessed,” she adds.

About the author

Peter Feldman

Peter has been a journalist and arts critic for almost 50 years and served on The Star in various capacities for 35 years, ending up as a specialist writer on films, music and theatre. During that time he travelled extensively on assignments and interviewed many international film and pop stars, both in South Africa and overseas. He also covered some of South Africa's biggest film and musical events. He was one of only two South African journalists to be invited by Steven Spielberg to the Hook film junket in LA in 1991 where he interviewed the famous director as well as Dustin Hoffman and the late Robin Williams. He attended the gala James Bond premiere in London in 1981 and did an iconic interview in a Rolls Royce with Roger Moore who played Bond. He spent a week touring England with Queen prior to their Sun City visit in 1983, interviewed a host of international stars on films sets in Hollywood and London and was the first local journalist to nail an interview with The Rolling Stones prior to their SA visit in 1995.
He is active in the freelance field and his work has appeared in a variety of South African newspapers and magazines. He has also worked on TV and radio (ChaiFM 101.9) in his specialist capacity. Over the years Feldman has been the recipient of several awards for his contribution to music journalism and the SA record industry. He is a recent recipient of the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz award in recognition for his long standing journalistic support for the arts. He wrote lyrics for some top artists, including Sipho Mabuse, and had a hit disco single, "Video Games," which was released in 1988. He coined the phrase "Local is Lekker" which he used in his columns in The Star Tonight and broadcast in the 70s on David Gresham's popular afternoon show on Springbok Radio.

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