Can you please help me editing my book.

As i am a first time writer i really don't know if my wording and pronouncement/grammer are correct.

Chapter 1

The blue dress

My story begins in Cape Town on 8th January 1970, a day I will never forget no matter how I try. My 5th birthday. The family consisted of five boys: William age 17; Edward 14; Andrew 12; Melvin 9; Michael 7 and three girls, Amelia age 15, Francis 8 and myself. With all these mouths to feed I had quickly learned not to expect any special treatment as mum always said we’re just too poor to waste anything. Shopping for clothes, shoes or food was a long, awaited special event. Only when my father would arrive back from long distance trips as a truck driver for Freighters Removals. On that day, if we were lucky, we were allowed one sweet each. Clothes and shoes were only purchased for the eldest as it was handed down to the others as they grew. Being a mere, toddler I didn’t know any better and just enjoyed life the way it was presented to me. Staying in a two bedroom cast iron council home, with no power but the paraffin stove for cooking and candles, for light, we all had took turns to bath. Every night at 6pm everyone would practically fall over their feet to get hot water. If there was none and you were still dirty, cold water was the next choice. By then you’d surely be send of to bed hungry with a good spanking. The eldest brothers and sister usually were the first at this lavish privilege as they had to oversee the rest of us. Kitchen duty was for everyone no matter how big, small, tired or ill you were. Bedtime was a mission, as we all shared one bedroom, consisting of one double bed for the girls and two floor mattresses for the boys. Extra blankets were a special privilege for the cold Cape winters. This was the usual ritual in the Petersen household just before supper. Though I was always reminded never to expect any lavish gifts. I looked forward to having my dad home on my birthday. After all, I did not ask for gifts and my father loved me above all else. That morning I had woken with the best surprise any poor child could only dream of. Rubbing my eyes to see clearly my sister shouted.” Happy birthday Janie, I got something for your birthday”. Shocked, yet happy, I smiled as she handed me the gift wrapped in plain brown paper. Ripping the paper off, I waited to see if my father would also enter our room to wish me happy birthday, but he was nowhere. The present was a beautiful blue crapulence dress with a matching jacket and a little white hat. Added was a shiny pair of polished black patent leather shoes that by now was too small for my sister. Happy with the present, I jumped out of bed to thank my parents. “Dad must be home with money, therefore I will be getting a special gift” I thought racing to their bedroom. Not finding them there, I rushed of to the kitchen. Mum was preparing the same usual maize meal breakfast for the family. Ignoring, her I ran outside searching for my father. I couldn’t wait to see him after he was away 3 weeks. I had missed the special occasions when he placed me on his knee, rocking me up and down. Though mum was always scared that he would drop me, especially when he was under the influence of alcohol, I didn’t care but enjoyed every minute not wanting him to stop.

Yet that morning I could not find him. “Maybe his hiding somewhere,” I thought calling out his name in a cheery voice. After a while, realizing that he truly wasn’t home, tears pouring down my rosy cheeks I ran to my sister for comfort. Mum never tolerated us crying as she said we had to grow up fast and go to work for our keep. Just a few years older Fran, was my pillar, always keeping me safe from the other’s jealousy. They hated the fact that dad always called us Janie and Fenna, his youngest little angels. Even though he also loved Amelia, named Millie after his mum, he always said her to have inherited the old lady’s mean streak and bad attitude. My brothers were more like mum’s large family, the Kleinhans family. Specially my grandparents. Soft hearted down, to earth simple people who lived on a farm in a rural area named Durbanville far outside Bellville. Mum felt that our family was just to poor for their approval. She was to proud and ashamed to introduce her children to them ,she always claimed her parents to be deceased. Now and then she would talk about her 16 brothers and sisters to us. You boys have my dad and brothers attitudes, never worried and care free from the girls. How I had wished to meet them but it was just not allowed. “Fran, I cried, showering her with questions. Where’s Derra, why is he not home, where did mum get my present from? Wait she screamed, don’t cry so much, derra has gone to his friend Abdullah. As you were still asleep when he arrived he didn’t want to wake you. Either you wait till his back or ill take you there, but you must promise to be quite and not tell the others or we’ll get into big trouble,. ”promise first, she shouted nudging me softly in the ribs! “Mum said you may wear your new clothes today as it is your birthday. You’re going to look so pretty after I plate your hair” she said, kissing me on the cheek. To excited and overjoyed I practically rushed her with everything. Totally forgetting that she too was only just a young girl and not our mother. After a while she turned me towards the mirror, smiled, saying. Look at yourself, so pretty in blue. Today you look like a little princess, come let me finish your hair with ribbons so we can go to derra. Millie will be so jealous when she sees you now. Just then mum entered the room announcing that she had to go somewhere and we were to go stay with grandma Mille. Rushing me along not even noticing my pretty dress or smile she shoved the hat on my head, wiped my nose and grabbed my hand. Dismayed I looked at Fran who was close to tears but dared not cry or utter a word. That surely would create a huge problem immediately and I didn’t want my sister spanked for nothing. Mum was the General when it came to disciplining her children. She always said dad was to weak and soft for us. Sneaking of to see dad now, was out of the question. How am I going to see my daddy today I wondered? Obediently I tagged along as she dragged me towards the door. Come Fran she shouted, grandma’s waiting and I’m going to be late for my appointment. You children are always so slow when I need to go somewhere. Sometimes I wish I never had you all then I would be back with my family and not need to worry about you all. Those words had a way of always making my sister cry and it hurt me very much. Looking at her I thought does this woman hate us so much she wishes us gone.

Outside my youngest brothers Melvin and Michael were playing marbles with the neighborhood kids. Not seeing mum (the General), Michael shouted “Where you going looking so nice, does mum know”. He was her little snitch always sucking up and getting us in trouble. She adored him, calling him Mickie her youngest baby boy. Apart from the others he always got away with murder no matter if he was at fault for starting trouble in the household. Just like Fran, Melvin always comforted and protected him no matter how much trouble he had caused. Melvin was the first to cry whenever mum took of her slipper. By then all hell would break lose, Parents arguing yelling at each other and children scattering around screaming and crying. Dad would get so mad that he physically and verbally abuses her till she scream, crawl away blue eyed. “U should learn to be a proper mother to these children and shut your big mouth, you nagging too much for money “he’d shout. As dad was an alcoholic this usually happened when he got drunk visiting his friend Abdullah? She always had a way of bringing out the worst in him. This was the only times I felt sorry for her, after all she was my mum and he was hurting her. Then I really didn’t like my dad. Yet I still loved all my brothers no matter what they did. After all they were all I have and I was just too young to realize that sometimes they were naughty. “Come boys she said, you all have to go to grandma Millie as I quickly have to go out before your father returns from wherever he presently is.” But mum! Mickie nagged, we playing and don’t want to go there as I don’t like her. She’s nasty and always chases us outside as she says we dirty her house. Well Melvin is with you and besides Millie and the other boys are with their friends too. Oh come now, stop nagging and I’ll bring you a sweet when I return, be good ok” she said hurriedly dragging me along. Pulling my hair showing his tongue, he smiled grabbing mum’s hand. Grandma Millie’s house was only a few blocks away so we didn’t have far to go. Along the way Melvin kept teasing Fran about her broken shoes and fatness. She was after all my plump big sister whom I loved very much. Arriving at there we were quickly shoved in by the gate. “Go on inside, mum said rushing off waving at us. On the patio gran was sitting in her favorite chair rocking herself to sleep. Opening her eyes she glared at us yelling “and now where you all think your going, your dads not here but at Abdullah’s house drinking him stupid again and where’s your rubbish of a mother going now?. Suddenly I didn’t feel so good about this lady, wanting to cry and hide behind Fran. Let’s go to derra please I cried, this aunty is nasty and scares me. Shih Fran said she’s Derra’s mum. She must have heard what I said replying very loud in a screeching voice.” Yes go sit there by your drunken father and don’t come back here again. Now I really wanted my mummy but she was gone. All I had was my brothers and sister who just stood there quietly. Being the immediate eldest among us Melvin decided we return home and wait for any of our family members to return. “I don’t like that witch” Mickie said I’ll tell mum what she says about us. Shut up you, Fran scolded him, as normal you’ll get us all into trouble again but this time I’ll hurt you when I get punished for nothing. Oh yes, Melvin replied,” lets see who hits first. Ignoring them I walked slowly, dragging my feet. Back home the boys immediately got back into the marble game with their friends leaving us to sit one side. “Fran was your birthday also like this” I inquired. Yes, she replied its nothing special so you had better get use to it. There’s no cake or party ever for any of us as you know what mum says about money. You still lucky you got these clothes. Suddenly I didn’t feel so happy trying to offer her the jacket and hat. Laughing she refused my offering mumbling “Keep it on, it’s too small sis and besides it’s all you have. Mum gave all your other smaller clothes to the neighbor’s baby. Let’s rather just be happy we have each other today ok. As it was a hot summer’s day I was thirsty and started sweating sitting on the wall. Having just too much clothes on I nagged at Fran. Can I take this off please? Tucking on the jacket? I’m to hot and the hat makes my hair itch.” Oh ok, but just until mum comes back.” Now I felt better, soon placing my head on her lap. Sweat rolling down my forehead, I fell of into a deep sleep. Dreaming of a party with lots of balloons and cakes. Being treated like a fairy in never land. Suddenly it felt like I was floating. It was my eldest brother William, named after dad, picking me up of the ground. My beautiful dream was rudely interrupted by him carrying me into the house. Opening the door, Millie shouted. “Wake up you or you’ll get sick sleeping in the direct sunlight and we’ll all get it again. Why you all outside anyway and where’s mum. Fran, also half asleep rubbing her eyes just shrug her shoulders. I don’t know, mum said she had to go somewhere quickly and left us with granny. But why you all here outside and not there. ?cause Melvin and Mickie ….Fran replied not able to finish her sentence as the two boys came around the corner yelling on top of their lungs. Derra, s back and he is drunk so now we going to get punished again. Don’t be stupid, William yelled. You know dad don’t do that when mum’s not around. Long as you stay out his way he’ll go and sleep. Besides I’m here and he won’t challenge me. Oh so who died and made you our protector, Millie arrogantly yelled. You can’t even protect yourself that’s why you always run away to Mrs. Mahajal’s house because you’re ashamed of us. Look whose talking, you do the same sleeping over at John’s house. Wait till dad finds that out about you and Longie and you’ll be in greater trouble than all of us together. Mrs. Mahajal was a rich old lady who adored and spoiled him very much. Knowing our situation back home she wanted to adopt him but dad was against it saying his children stay together no matter what the circumstances. Therefore William always disappeared staying away for days. It was like he didn’t want to know us. Millie was no better. I can to know john as Longie via friends whom always came to fetch her. She always sneaked away unseen especially when dad was away because she knew mum didn’t worry much. But today they were both on their best behavior knowing dad’s back. On and on they went arguing till dad finally yelled. Shut up you lot and bring Janie here. He was in the lounge, relaxing with his feet up on the coffee table. Where’s Derra, s babies he said in slurry drunken voice? Come here you birthday girl. I see you have your new dress on and you look so pretty like a little princess. And where is Fenna? How come she’s not with you? I’m here Derra, she said jumping around so he could see her. Both of you come sit here on my lap. I want to see my little angels. Millie and William had now stopped arguing just pushing each other around. They just couldn’t stop getting into each other all the time. It was like a joke to them teasing each other about other boys and girls. Rocking on dad’s lap we laughed so much till our tummies ached. I was happy to see my father being in his strong arms again. All the while the others were watching jealously. We had totally forgotten about the bad situations surrounding us. Long as dad was home and we were happy we just didn’t care about them or him being drunk. Just then Mickie entered the room spoiling our fun nagging, hello derra did you bring something for me, I’m hungry derra! Suddenly dad stopped playing, shoving us away shouting loudly, “Dorothy where are you, the kids are hungry so feed them. I gave you all my money and I brought food so what are you doing with it.”? Where are you? On and on he went till he realized she wasn’t home. Millie where’s your mother he inquired. I don’t know derra; I wasn’t here when she left. Ask Melvyn. Being a soft hearted boy I felt sorry as poor Melvyn had to explain over and over until dad finally understood. Did she say where’s she’s going. No derra! Mickie shouted again out of turn. Ma said she had to go quickly and will bring sweeties if I’m good. Oh did she and did she tell you where she’s going to? No but grandma Millie chased us away saying you drunk at Dulla donkey’s house so Melvyn said we must come home. This angered dad, mumbling horrible words as he got up stumbling towards the kitchen. Now we knew that trouble was brewing just because of Mickie. Yet like all of us he was a little boy and surely needed to be fed. By then mille had prepared sandwiches serving us already. Would you also like some derra she inquired but he was to angry to even hear. There he stood mumbling, swearing at the door awaiting mum. After a while he left for his friends shouting, “Tell your mother she’s in trouble when I get back from Dulla. Now we knew that we had to get done early with our normal routine as we had to be out the way before they arrived home. Everyone had to be on their best behavior and in bed no matter if it was still daylight. Innocently I inquired, Mille is derra going to hit ma again? Hey I don’t know, she yelled and don’t ask stupid questions. Don’t think because it’s your birthday your special in this house. Now you can go tell derra what I said because you two are his little ANGELS. I can’t wait to get away from this poor family who always fight. One day I’m going to run away and leave all this nonsense behind. William just shrugs his shoulders smacking Mickie on the head. Because of you we all are going to have a miserable evening again. Just then Andrew arrived unknowing the present situation smiling heavily. Hello you all, where were you earlier as I was home and found no one here. Again the explaining and insults between the eldest flew around. Mum arrived two hours later getting out of a big bakery truck smiling lovingly at the driver. Waving none stop as he quickly drove off. Carrying heavily on some parcels. Soon as she was inside the door they stopped arguing pretending that all was well. Mickie, little tired came running ready to inform her about the days events but Andrew pulled him back saying. Don’t you dare or else. As he hardly around always hanging out a few blocks away at mum’s friend, aunty Chrissie, he never tolerated Mickie snitching and always stayed out the way when the fighting started. Are you all sorted out and fed because I’m tired and need to rest a while, she said. Yes mum but Edwards not home yet, William replied. Never did she mention where or with who she was. Showing no interest in whatever we did during the day. Fran came and brushed my hair whispering. Don’t worry Janie ma just tired and shell talk later. Best we get to bed before derra comes home. I’m sure you don’t want to hear all the shouting and swearing specially on your birthday again do you? Anyway it’s almost over so be a big girl and don’t ask so many questions please. Later that evening Edward returned handing mum some money he earned selling newspapers all day. Unlike the others he had always try to make a few rand to help mum no matter how bad he was treated. Unfortunately sometimes some bad deeds landed him in trouble with the law having mum to fetch him from the police stations. Yet every time he returned home he had lots of money that made her happy. Sometimes it seemed like he was paying her to be our mother. All fed and ready for bed we all anciently awaited Derra, s return. Like little mice we were quietly laying in bed just waiting to hear his voice. In my little mind I had said a prayer for GOD to please spare my family and mum. Long after I had fallen of to sleep he had returned to drunk and tired to fight. Surprising mum never got scolded or beaten that night. That night I was very proud of my father for being a man overlooking all mums’ wrong doings. Glancing at my pretty blue dress hanging over the bedroom chair I thought smiling. Thought my birthday was not the best I had hoped for I still got to wear my pretty dress and see my dad. Nothing else mattered more than that. I feel asleep knowing that I was loved and still special to him.

My goodnss, are you really going to ask us to edit your whole book? That seems like a very, very large task.Emotion: smile

Best wishes, Clive

PS - My first reaction on looking at this is that your paragraphs are enormous. Can you make them into shorter ones?
Hi Clive,

Thank you for your reply.

As i have ask my local Afrikaans teacher for help, i am not sure if she understands what i am trying to write the book is actually a real life story of a friend.

I feel like my teacher, as she is Afrikaans has a problem translating these words into proper english there for everything comes across with a local South African

The paragraphs has been reduced but the chapter lost it's meaning.

I would appreciate it if you or any one else could help with the paragraphs and corecting it

Thank you Emotion: big smile
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
Only when my father would arrive back from long distance trips as a truck driver for Freighters Removals. On that day, if we were lucky, we were allowed one sweet each. Do not use conditional, and run sentences together.

Clothes and shoes were only purchased for the eldest and were handed down to the others as they grew

mere, toddler no comma

a two-bedroom cast iron council home, I think you have the wrong term – check carefully. Maybe “corrugated metal”?

candles, for light no comma

us. Kitchen duty was for everyone no matter how big, small, tired or ill you were. Bedtime You are talking about bedtime – why introduce this one sentence here?

supper. Though I was always Start a new paragraph with “Though I….”

Your paragraphs are much too long. You need to go through and see where one line of thought/action stops and a new one starts.
This is merely a start – I am afraid there really is more than can be dealt with quickly in a forum like this one. I suggest you look around for someone local who is an English speaker and ask for their help.