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The School Reunion

The school reunion is over and I enjoyed it very much. I haven’t been to many large gatherings in recent years because of CoVid, so this was extra fun. There were only 9 of the original 36 students in my class attending, but we were one of five classes and our final year was even bigger, as we were an academic high school and students came in on scholarships for the last two years. At this reunion there were only about 70 out of more than 200 possibles — some down with CoVid, others away or overseas. And plenty who we were unable to contact.

What was most interesting for me was talking to people I either hadn’t seen for decades, and some I hardly knew at school — just had an impression of.  Some had changed quite a bit, some lived up to that teenage impression and others not at all. A lot of people had travelled — Australians in general travel quite a bit: it’s a bit of a rite of passage for young people to head over to Asia and Europe—but it was fascinating how many had also worked overseas, as well as all over Australia. 

I went with my two oldest friends and on the way home in the car we exchanged stories of who we’d caught up with — and who we hadn’t. We agreed it wasn’t nearly long enough. My brain was buzzing for several days afterward. And some of us have been talking about getting together sooner, rather than later and catching up properly.

And I’m sorry, but I didn’t take many photos—was too busy talking and catching up —and I have none of me, and I don’t want to put other people’s photos up here.

So the photo above is of a red pelargonium in my courtyard — a brighter one than the dark one I showed in an earlier post. And below there’s a photo of Milly’s (slightly) better side —she was sitting very nicely but was distracted by a butterfly. You can see both the bright and dark red pelargoniums in the background.


School Reunions

I have a school reunion coming up in a month or so, and though I’m not one of the people organizing it, I’m finding the process very interesting. We’re all well and truly adults now but it’s funny, so many of the reactions people have been having show me that though  we’re all mature-looking on the outside,  inside there’s a big chunk of the insecure teenagers we used to be.  (That’s not me in the photo, by the way — it’s my mum. I couldn’t find any photos of me — they’re somewhere in a box.)


People have come up with all sorts of reasons they don’t want to come. One friend was saying she wasn’t going to go the reunion because “everyone else’s life has turned out so much more impressive” than hers, which from where I’m standing isn’t at all true. She’s just hard on herself,  but an old friend had told her recently “You had so much potential” — so now she feels like a failure!

Other reasons for not going have ranged from “I won’t know who to sit with” or “I don’t want to run into my old girlfriends/boyfriends” and “Nobody will remember me (or liked me) anyway.”

I understand, because I was very reluctant when the first of these school reunions (just of our year) came up. I had no plans to go —  I’d kept contact with my main friends anyway— but two friends of mine badgered me into it. And to my surprise, I really enjoyed it. And it got me thinking about, and analyzing, my youth/adolescence in a different way.

High school was a transformative experience for most of us. Ours was an academic, government high school and students were selected academically, and came from all over Melbourne and from all walks of life. We went from thinking ourselves one of the smartest in our year to just being average — some of our schoolfellows were truly brilliant — and the culture of the school was stimulating and challenging—and transformative. So after that first reunion, I realized we all had more in common than we thought. 

Since then, a small group of the women I went to school with meet a few times a year  for lunch and/or an outing — all because of going to a reunion. We weren’t all great friends at school but now we all get on wonderfully well  and are getting to know each other as we didn’t at school. And reflecting about our very different lives. (That photo isn’t of me in high school, but of me at school in Scotland when I was 8. I found it on my own website. <g>)

But finding people is hard. For a start, we came from all over a large city, and ours was a large year, so there are a lot of people to find. Since school we’ve scattered all over the country, and even the world in some cases. One guy is a music performer and teacher in London. I remember him wrestling his double bass on and off the tram (trolley car) to and from school. Luckily he was a tall guy. I guess he still is. <g> Another woman lives a good part of the year in France and pops all over Europe. And others I have no idea of.

We’ve tried FB and LinkedIn, and other on-line places, and though we have old address books from school years, only one person I know still lives where they used to.   I’ve managed to dig up a small group of the men in our year — but the people I’ve come unstuck on are the women. So many changed their names on marriage and there’s no hope of tracking them down. So it won’t be the full group, but still, past experience has shown that will be a valuable and worthwhile experience. 

I’ll keep you posted on how it all goes, but in the meantime, what do you think about school reunions — love them or hate them? 




From the verge

The only neighbours I’ve met in my new house so far were two young guys who lived next door. They’re both very nice (and I was thinking potentially useful, since they looked handy and had trucks and tools and things.) But sadly, they were also moving. I met the first one when he asked me if I had any spare boxes, which of course I did. It turned out he was moving down the coast, so there went my short-lived fantasy of having useful men next door. <g>

Anyway the other one was moving up to northern NSW, and he was putting lots of furniture on the nature strip (verge) for anyone to take, because where he was going was too far/expensive to transport all his furniture. So he was giving it away. So first, with the help of a visiting friend, I first nabbed a low (4ft) narrow bookshelf for my hallway.

Then the following night I was returning home in the dark with takeaway Chinese food, and I saw some nice looking chairs there. I liked them — they had padded seats in oatmeal fabric, and my current wooden dining chairs are hard on bottoms — as my card playing friends often remark. There were three, so I brought them inside, feeling quite like the scavenger of the neighborhood! <g>

Next morning it was pouring with rain, and I saw there was a very nice table there, getting drenched. He had offered me “a kitchen table” the day before, when I’d asked him about the bookshelf, and I’d imagined some battered old thing, so I’d said no thanks. But this lovely table was, apparently, it. So feeling cheeky I knocked on his door and asked him about it, and he said, yeah, take it.

And then, even more cheekily, I asked for his help in carrying it onto my front porch — it was too wet to bring inside. So he did. (That’s it below, in the rain.)

He said, “There were some chairs too but they’ve gone.”

I said, “I know — I took them.”

So then he told me he had the 4th chair inside and he’d give it to me before he left.

Several times I offered to pay — they’re really nice table and chairs — but he waved it off and poo-poohed the idea.

And then he brought in the 4th chair, because he was going out that night and didn’t need it, and was staying with a mate  until he left in a few days time.

So, now I have a lovely table and 4 chairs.

He had some other good furniture, and so I contacted the asylum-seekers aid organization, who help refugees get settled with houses and furniture, etc. I sent them some photos, pointing out that they were in the rain, and they came and got them straight away. So his furniture has helped a lot of people — including me.

My table is now on my deck. Isn’t it lovely? I was a bit worried it would be too big, but I think it works well. It’s close to the window at the moment because it’s bucketing down and I don’t want it to get wet again. I’m keeping my old dining room table inside because it’s round, and is the perfect size for my card-playing friends who don’t have to stretch too far for the pack.

So there are my finds — all from the verge. 

These days I’ve noticed that more and more people are leaving stuff out on the verge for anyone to take. I left a few things out myself, when I was leaving the old house, though most of my stuff went to charity shops.

I’m not sure whether it’s a sign that we all have too much stuff, or whether we’re just encouraged to buy new stuff all the time. My theory is that shopping has become so much of a leisure activity that we all have too much, and yet adverts and “lifestyle” magazines and programs continually entice us to want more and newer — if not necessarily better.

I get several interior/renovation e-zines and I’m often shocked at their “before and afters” when they talk about “outdated” kitchens and houses — when really they’re still very nice and perfectly good — just not the latest thing!

I get mildly offended on behalf of the former owners when they talk about “This outdated and shabby old house/kitchen/bathroom” blah blah. When it was last decorated and renovated maybe 10 years ago. Are we getting too wasteful, perhaps? I don’t know.

Have you ever found something good on the verge?