October 12, 2010


I started school in 1979. I recall searing long hot days and the dusty walk to school. I remember my first teacher Mrs Bernake, who was the most beautiful lady I think I had ever seen apart from Sandy from Grease. I can vividly reflect on the heated squishy vegemite sandwiches and the obligatory piece of fruit that was filed straight into the bin

I remember athletics carnivals and the importance of the parade. Book Week Parade, Easter Hat Parade and the Christmas Parade. Oh how we liked a parade at North Richmond Public School. Even in 42 degree temps.*

Something that stuck with me was the Christmas Concert. All the kindergarten girls were asked to stand up if they wanted to play the Lead Angel in the Nativity Play. Of course I bloody wanted to be the Christmas Angel! So I stood up with a dozen other little girls and smiled at the teachers, who were to choose the successful child based purely on appearance. Like Toddlers and Tiaras but with no Western Wear Category.

I was immediately asked to sit back down and told I was to play the donkey.

At the time it did not occur to me that my bucky teeth, my coke bottle glasses which had one eye covered in a patch and my cropped wispy hair (to discourage me becoming a full blown walking nit colony) had anything to do with my dismissal. I just thought it was because I knew a lot about horses and had the moves down pat. And this pleased me in a strange way.

Anyway, Natalie Bromage was deemed the fairest of them all and played a bland fairy. She bought nothing to the role except for big blue eyes and long wavy blonde hair. And her mum was on the Parents and Citizens Committee.

Something else that springs to mind is the spring magpie festival of swooping. The road to school was lined with dozens of gum trees, each housing a family of aggressive, psychotic magpies who took it in turn to dive bomb any individual wandering the street below. My mum counter-attacked with a home made device of a 2 litre empty ice cream container with big eyes drawn on the top. She believed the myth that Maggies will not attack if they are being watched. So she would line the 3 off us up in the morning, spit in a tissue and clean our faces, give us our lunches, arrange our ice cream container hats and wish us a marvellous day.
So what brings me to these nostalgic thoughts today? There is a Woog turning 5 and is off to school next year and today he asked if he could wear his brand new uniform to daycare. And I said yes. (see Mr Woog, not always a dream crusher.) And as I took this photo, my thoughts filled with images of my first year at school. Next year I hope Jack gets to create the same fantastic memories of kindergarten as I have.

* If it hit 43 degrees we got sent home - score!
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