Thursday, September 27, 2012

PAGE FORTY-FIVE: for the want of an essay

 In the week before Joan and I got married, my Dad's sisters, Ruth and Trixie, came to stay with our family. I was busy getting an assignment finished on my very ordinary typewriter. I used to make almost as much mess typing as I did with my handwriting, and often had to tear up the page and start all over again.

When my aunties heard I had an assignment to complete, they hounded me relentlessly until I finished it.  They never let up:
David! Have you done your assignment yet?
Oh, the agony! But ... I got it done.

Moving forward  a year, I had a little essay to do. This time, I didn't have anyone nagging me. Joan was not, and is not, a nagger. I wonder how many men can say that, after thirty-nine years?

So I'm lucky to be in this photo, because at the end of 1974, I had an essay that I hadn't handed in. We had something else on our minds: the impending birth of our new baby.

But when we were getting our correspondence from Newcastle College of Advanced Education regarding our graduation, I did not get a letter telling me I was to receive a Diploma in Music Education, but one telling me I would be paid as three year trained, certificate attainments. And instead of being paid a mighty $10,000 per year, my pay would be about $8,000. (If $10,000 sounds small to you, it sounded astronomical to me. The prime minister in those days was paid about $50,000 per annum, if you want something to compare a school teacher's salary with.)

But, I'm in the photo, because when I got the message that I had failed fourth year for the want of an essay, I was able to make up my own essay topic, quickly write it, send it to Nigel Butterley, my lecturer, send off letters to the Department of Education, and get my back pay. Phew!

All of the people in the graduation photo above, except one, met with a few of my other lovely classmates in December last year for a forty year reunion of our first year class. I have mixed feelings about reunions and wondered what it would be like.

It was a relaxed, friendly get together. It was so nice to see our old friends again. The photo at left, of Christine, Sue (the Art student who preferred the company of us Music students) and Catrine, captures the informal, pleasant afternoon well, I think.

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