Robbie married, and I spoke….

Here is a copy of the speech I made at Robbie’s wedding. Well almost. There were some last minute changes. Only one story of the two about Robbie as a child were described; and a little bit was added about Robbie’s sporting prowess. This is a copy of the speech the night before the wedding; and, not the morning of the wedding. But its pretty almost the same. If you want to see the real thing you will have to wait for the DVD release.

Also there are grammar mistakes etc in the speech that obviously I corrected when presenting it at the wedding.


For those of you who don’t know who I am – I am Ilan, Robbie’s elder brother.

This is the ninety-seventh version of this speech, the earlier versions sounded distinctly like something covered in hearts that you might find at Cardies’s cards and later versions like philosophy ideas at university. Terry told me diplomatically that best man’s speech is, and I quote , “humorous and not soppy. It takes a good natured dig at idiosyncrasies or past behaviour of the groom.” My father said get rid of the schmaltz; and my mother use short sort sentences with words with no more that three syllables in them.

So on that note I turned to my family for help. And there was an explosion of stories of Robbie’s idiosyncrasies and past behaviours that had us all laughing about moments in his childhood and youth and what a smorgasbord of flavours. My mother’s favourite humorous memories revolve around two epigrammatic phrases out of Robbie’s young mouth. The first one dates back to when Robbie was two and 5 sixths of a year old. My parents are great nature lovers and now they had decided that we were old enough to give us what they considered a great privilege and present. We were all taken Tendile, in the Northern berg in the amphitheatre which is a truly special place in the Royal Natal National Park. A place where all there is to is walk and talk. Well we walked for a one day; we walked for half of the second day… we were out far for everywhere when Robbie decided that this was it. This situation could not continue any more. And Robbie took control. Now everyone, take a second… Everyone look at Robbie; now I want you to imagine him almost three years old and about as high as your waist. Now little Robbie sits down…. Plonk… on the ground and says clearly and with absolute certainty – “Me too little. Me no walk”… And that was the end of the holiday. He had to be carried home and we left Tendile the next day.

This following bit was cut out of the speech as we decided it did not provide any real addition to the flow of the speech and was just a non-sequitur – but it is still amusing for anyone who is interested in the last minute changes to the speech..

{The second phrase that my mother never forgot happened when Robbie approached her and asked her to make him some sandwiches for school. My mother told him make his own sandwhiches. And then little Robbie stood firm arms akimbo and said..
“You know, the problem with this family is that there are two fathers.”}

Who knew in when Robbie was a little child that he would come so far? Because he has come far, an up and coming advocate, is now married to the most beautiful, intelligent and caring young woman, have such good hair and teeth. Some people might think from these two stories that Robbie lacked ambition and did not want to do things for himself. Not true, it shows he knows how to use his mind, come to a logical conclusion and apply it effectively. Case in point: Robbie has never lost his marbles, on the contrary they are still piled up in many huge massive plastic containers in Durban still. In fact not only has Robbie never lost his marbles he in fact has everyone else’s marbles. Robbie cleaned the entire middle school out of marbles. Robbie had learnt to think out of the box. He would set up a small circle of super duper fancy shmancy marbles at the bottom of the grandstands at the school field. Then you, the person who was about to lose his marbles, got to throw a marble off the top of the steps. If your marble landed in this special pile of marbles you got to keep the prize. , if you didn’t, you lost your marble. Know how big a marble is? This big. Know how big a small pile of marbles is? This big. Good luck. Robbie used to stand at the bottom of the grandstands and on his signal he had the entire middle school throwing their marbles at him. As a result marbles were banned at school, not so much because he won them all but because the mothers could simply not cope with their children buying them back.

Jonx told me that he went to Durban High School a teacher came out of his way to find him. Why? He wanted to know if Jonx was going to turn into a reprobate like Robbie? However, he meant this as a mark of respect for someone who was willing to stand up against authority. He used to be nasty and downright unpleasant to the students in his class. This teacher had given the class an essay to write. The topic My First Day Back At School. Robbie described a bored and frustrated teacher giving an unoriginal topic while at the same time wandering around behind the different students; checking their hair lengths and insulting them. Robbie did it knowingly to get a message across to the teacher. The essay was held back and Robbie had to see him after school. Robbie was asked “How would you like it if I showed this essay to your father?” “I already have, said Robbie, and all he asked was whether or not it was true?” The conduct and attitude of this teacher towards Robbie and the class changed from then onward.

But if you were to ask Robbie about his school days though he will always tell you that he was done an unfair deal. Why, because he was pressurised into studying important subjects like Latin; and not allowed to study Art. And he knew he could have been a great artist; and he has undisputable proof of his artistic merit. In Standard 7 he got a B for his apple he drew which was the second highest mark for an apple in the entire school; and his art was not limited to the visual as in standard 8 he wrote a poem. In fact I have a copy of it here. It rhymes and everything.. So let me present it to you.

Fire. By Robbie Pillemer. Prometheus stole fire/ because he had a desire/ to give it to man/ and the rest of his clan/ so the human race/ could continue its pace / for survival.

After finishing his Business science degree, his LLB, his articles Robbie set off to the UK for two years to find himself. He wasn’t prepared to take any old job and was waiting for the perfect job; during which time his money ran out and he had to take any job. He wrote home “Mom. I have eventually job as a stripper. The long email dealing with all of sorts ancillary matters ended by describing his job in graphic detail; he had to strip plastic sheeting off clothes at the duty free shop at Heathrow airport. He also packed smelly fish in sub zero Scotland and washed dished in the kitchen of a hotel in Sark where they wouldn’t allow to serve guests because he refused, point blank, as a matter of principle to cut his hair.

After he completed his bar exam and was sitting for his oral he described a huge table with him at one end, the judge and other examiners at the other whose mouths were moving but in his nervousness he could not hear a word that was being said. Have we said that he still had his long hair? Well he did, because as a matter of principle he still refused to cut it. The words of the judge eventually came through to him “Have you found yourself? You did well in your exam. Good luck in your practise.” So you may be asking yourselves, what happened to the long hair and Robbie principles? And the answer is, eventually Robbie got tired of being confused with the accused.

{Here there was a bit added about Robbie’s sporting prowess, I do not have a copy of this addition.}

Now… my earliest memory of Robbie involves the two of us, as intrepid explorers, wandering around a childhood garden with paints and paintbrushes painting all the snails and frogs and rocks and things we could find the different colours of the rainbow. Well now Robbie and Terry are about to set of, as entrepid explorers in the garden of their marriage to paint their garden with rainbow colours of love. The Talmud Lomar, The Talmud teaches us Matzah Isha Matzha Tov. He who find himself a wife, has found himself that which is truly of value in this life. Mazel Tov. I ask you all to rise and drink l’chaim to the happy colour. Le Chayyim.”

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About ilAn

I am not sure if i know who i am.
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