It’s an extraordinary thing to draw on childhood memories of high school years.
Friday, 7 June 2019, was an amazing day as I reconnected with people from my teenage years; back in conversation with individuals who had shared experiences exclusive to their time and place in history.
We were drawn together particularly because of the Rockhampton High School centenary and we recalled experiences from the late 1960s and early 1970s.
For me, there was a lightbulb moment when I realised that at one point I was talking to my singing partners Colin Lock and Laurie Thomson from the school’s 1969 production of Guys and Dolls.
Our characters had to start the show with a difficult three-part number called Fugue For Tinhorns. It requires each character (who are gamblers) to keep singing as the other steps forward with their reasons to back a particular horse.
“I got the horse right here, his name is Paul Revere,” was the opening line I sang. As I continued to sing, Col’s character comes in with, “I’m pickin’ Valentine, ’cause on the morning line,” etc and then Laurie’s character goes on with, “But look at Epitaph. He wins it by a half…”
When you hear professionals do the number, it’s sensational. When 14-year-old boys sing it …. well, I guess you get the picture..
Anyway, standing there talking to Col and Laurie was so special because it was such a random occurrence.
Big thanks to Stan and Jill
We gathered at the Rockhampton Botanic Gardens thanks to Stan Dyer and Jill Atherton. Can’t thank them enough because, without them, none of us would have the experiences we had.
Various people talked about their careers, their relationships, those who have already passed on, children, grandchildren and, of course, lots of incidents involving teachers and fellow students both inside and outside the school yard.
And we also had several teachers join us as well.
It was a time to laugh, to reminisce, to appreciate individuals who are now adults with a lifetime of experiences.
The following audio gives an idea of how that sounded…
We talked prostate problems. We swapped war stories on that one but my recent experience is nothing compared with what some blokes have gone through.
The agony of broken relationships; tough accounts of betrayal and loss. And kids who have gone off the rails.
And proud parents talking about how well their children were doing. And, of course, the joy of grandchildren.
Lifelong friendships maintained
Some have maintained lifelong connections with schoolfriends. Many now live in Brisbane. Some could not wait to get out of Rockhampton.
Lots of talk of successful, fulfilling careers with great variety.
It’s a snapshot of life really. There are groups of 60-plus-year-olds throughout the world who would have similar shared experiences if they gathered in similar circumstances.
It’s joyful; it’s refreshing; and it’s so satisfying to know that these people were part of my childhood. It makes me feel good inside. It fills me with energy and love for life.
Experiences shared in fellowship
I guess we were all there to encourage and share a bit about our lives. It works. I’ve never done it before and I missed out on something special.
I want more of this. Every person is special in their own way and, to me, collectively we are an extraordinary bunch.
Such memories need nurturing and cultivating. That can only be realised when we communicate what life has delivered us.
For the few of us who gathered, we represented something about our education at Rockhampton High School.
We had great fellowship. Fellowship has such a rich meaning when you consider it represents companionship, camaraderie, friendship, mutual respect, togetherness, etc.
Who doesn’t want to embrace all of that … and more?