Chiropractors Dick and Unity Lewis
by Derek Lewis
I am Derek Lewis, eldest son of Unity and Dick Lewis.
I still have my immigration card when I together with my parents returned to South Africa, showing we arrived on the Melville Jacoby in Cape Town on 24-4-1946. It was a 12 passenger cargo ship, and on board was two other SA Chiro brothers returning to East London..( Basil?... help with names..Brian?? ) One had a tricycle for his son, slightly my elder, that I did my best to wear out riding round and round the bridge. Both their sons also became Chiro's but I can't remember their surname. (BRL: Peters)
I know my mother Unity did a year at Pietermaritzburg university, with credits in English and Botany at least. She completed that degree, majoring in English and Psychology, in about 1960 when she would have been about 40 years old. She was a life-long avid gardner, and always knew all the botanical names of everything.
Our father Dick Lewis had a mentor, Brad, who was wealthy and a golf lover. Dad started caddying for him at an early age. I believe our father considered turning pro, playing off a handicap of 3, but I'm sure Brad influenced his decision to become a Chiropractor, and probably payed for at least part of his training.
Dad graduated from Palmer, and was deeply disturbed by their philosophy that everything could be cured by adjusting only the upper neck. (BRL: Hole-in-one treatment). So he went to Lincoln Chiropractic College to broaden his Chiropractic knowledge. I presume as a graduate student, as he wasn't there very long, but long enough to meet our mother, Unity Allsopp. He must have been influenced by his love of and fascination with sports injuries that were then off limits at Palmer, not being pertinent to Chiropractic. Certainly , he always loved treating knees, elbows and other sports injuries that were not technically kosher at the time.
Our parents, Unity and Dick were married on August 24th, 1940 in Marion City Indiana, surely still students, but by Sep 3rd, 1942, when I was born, they had moved to New Haven, Conn, down on the east shore. I visited their home and our neighbours c1978. Somewhere there is a photo of Dick outside his clinic there. It must have been part-time though, as it was during the war and he worked at a famous gun manufacturer. Unity worked for a while as a stitcher on a clothing factory production line. Sewing became another of her life-longing hobbies, making most of her own clothes, and probably influenced me to go into the clothing manufacturing business.
Unity hated the US weather, especially Indiana. Sub zero winters, 100deg F and 100% humidity summers. Hew Haven was not much better. In summer, the Long Island ocean was "like pea soup". She commented one summers day how clear it was. Brian Peters corrected her, saying " You have been out of SA too long and forgotten what a clear day is really like" . It probably wasn't long thereafter they boarded the first available post war ship, and she 'dragged' her our father Dick and me back to 'Sunny South Africa'.
I didn't talk till I was three. Dad took me one day for an ice-cream cone. He must asked if I wanted another, and I spoke my first words... "I'm not greedy. I just like a lot".
In those days, the liquor laws were different. They used to take me with them to the local bar on friday or saturday nights. I used to wander from table to table to friends, who would give a sip of beer sometimes. One night Mom didn't watch closely enough, and I reputedly staggered a little returning to her.
There may be another story here of Brian Peters (?) family. Certainly our histories overlap. One brother practised in PMB, Basil, I think, one son was 2 years ahead of me at Hilton College, and also did Chiro. I think he quit and emigrated to Canada. Then, of course, you and Brian jnr practised together. There may be overlapping anecdotes if we can find a relative living. Quite easy today with names and rough addresses or Facebook