Playgrounds, pencils and Perkins Paste remain a hazy, crazy, daze for many of us. In Calingarry Crossing this storm season, a school reunion brings home more than memories for publican, Maggie Lindeman, so I’ve decided to ask a few authors to reflect on their own school daze.
What do you think about school reunions! Love them? Hate them? Do you agree with Maggie (Simmering Season) that such events push you to question everything — your worth, your achievements … your life.
To celebrate the release of Simmering Season, I’m holding a school reunion and you’re invited to catch up with your favourite authors, or find a new favourite author. If you have an Aussie author you’d like me to feature, leave a comment and I’ll see what I can do.
The school bell is ringing, and first in class we have…
Jennie Jones – THEN
“When I left school I also left my best friend, Jane. We each trod different paths after that but had spent our high school years together; dreaming, dodging, wishing, loving boys and getting giggly over just about anything. Our formative years were filled with sighing, laughing, crying, arguing, wondering and planning. We’re still in touch, after thirty-something years. This special school friendship we share is what I call a seasoned memory.”
Sara Foster – THEN
‘Throughout my primary school days we used to play elastics at every opportunity, coming up with more and more imaginative ways of jumping on and over two strips of elastic, which were either wound around people’s legs or tied to drainpipes and chairs. At some stage I’m planning to drag my daughters away from technology to show them how it’s done. (Although let’s just hope I can still do it!)’
Rachael Johns – THEN
I’m one of the lucky ones. In my first weeks of high school I found my ‘group.’ You know the people who stick by you through thick and thin, who laugh and cry with you, put up with your crazy and embarrassing sometimes outlandish personality, and whom you feel confident sharing your deepest and darkest secrets? These are my girls – there are six of us. Four of us met in year eight, another came in year ten and the final (but just as important) member of our group found us in year eleven. We spent our high school years hanging out at school and whenever we could outside of school. We shopped for our all important formal dresses together, we were there to laugh over crushes of boys and support each other when hearts were broken. We had the BEST ever sleepovers – where sleep wasn’t on the agenda at all. We scared each other silly with thriller movies, while we ate junk food and drank Fanta. One sleepover we even rung the local radio station and dedicated songs to our then crushes – whether they have heard them or not, we’ll never know. The song was ‘I Swear’ if you were wondering.
Although we now are all married with kids, we are still as close as ever. Maybe closer. We’ve been through joyous times together – weddings and babies – and we’ve been through some tough times too. In many ways we are as different as a bunch of women can get, but we still get together as much as we can. We laugh over old memories and share what’s currently going on in our crazy, hectic lives. Now we even get together on occasions with our kids and there is nothing more amazing than watching my children enjoy spending time with my best friends’ children. I know we’ll be BFFs until the end. Yep, these women are the best thing I got out of high school!
Alison Stuart – THEN
“Unpick it and do it again”… Mrs. Plummer, sewing teacher. But seriously I think I owe my biggest debt of thanks to Miss Robinson who had the misfortune to try and teach a bunch of Year 9 girls English grammar. She was the first teacher who encouraged my creative writing.”
Cathryn Hein – THEN
“I suspect that without Mr Costello as my English teacher I wouldn’t be a writer. He was amazing. He also gave me a B+ for my cringe-worthy short story A Day In The Life Of A Feminist Cockroach. Not quite sure what he was thinking that day…”
Nicola Moriaty – THEN
I thought it might be fun to quote directly from my diary that I kept all through my schools years, the following extract is from when I was eight years old, I’ve kept the spelling mistakes in!!
“i dont beleav it today mr. Connolly let us talk for a bit! We have this new sports teacher who is mean. But we playd lots of running games. We started school two days ago. We’v done lots of work but Mr. Connolly thinks we’v hardly done any he sais where gonna work our buts off. He already toute us two songs and a poulm. At lunch i got tipped when I was b.a. then everybody said to me that i was in so i said i was b.a. They said there was no b.a. I said i did not know. They said I had to take it. i got mad and cryed. But we made up.”
I think I still remember the injustice of that game of tip! But I also remember Mr Connolly as one of my favourite teachers because he gave me a hug when I cried after getting in trouble for throwing grapes on the school bus.
Dawn Barker – THEN
“I had two favourite subjects at school: English and Latin. My reasons for liking English are probably obvious, as even in primary school I was entering competitions reciting Scottish poetry and winning certificates like this! In high school I studied Latin for five years and loved it. Latin opened up the world of literature when I learned the structure and cadence of the language, the mythology, and the poems of Ovid, Cattalus and Virgil. Essential for anyone who wants to understand stories and language, I think!”
Fiona Palmer – THEN
“I hated maths and I had some real doozy maths teachers over the years but then Mr Gow came along in Year 11. He was awesome and my favourite. My friend took this class photo, maybe that’s why I was game enough to ‘bunny ears’ Mr Gow.”
Christine Stinson – THEN
“I met my favourite teacher in primary school. Sister Justinian looked a lot like a bull dog, with a particularly pugnacious bottom lip and a habit of throwing exercise books out the window (and onto the road) if she wasn’t happy with the standard of homework. Bless her, she gave me pictures to write stories about and didn’t mind how long those stories were, and my exercise book never ended up on the roadway.”
Heather Garside – THEN
“Before- and after-school jobs included feeding the occasional poddy calf. My primary schooling was done by correspondence school as we lived too far from town to attend normal school. My mother taught all four of us and often battled with getting us into the school room. One morning we had gone off playing some distance from the house and poor Mum was calling and calling us to come home. How naughty were we! One of our cats came up to join us and began meowing at us. Then he turned around and starting walking back to the house, looking back at us and meowing every so often. We were so intrigued, we obediently followed him home!”
Jenn J McLeod – THEN
“The strongest memory for me at High school relates to that plot in the playground, our group’s patch of ground that no other group dared occupy. A recess oasis where battles were fought and friendships were forged.”
School’s out for the day. If you have any questions or
suggestions, please raise your hand, leave a comment, share!
A word about that OTHER school reunion in Calingarry Crossing.
Poor Maggie. She has no idea the perfect storm is
Find out more, right here. Simmering Seasonheaded her way.
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