Our formative years, the years when we go from being a child to a teenager to a young adult, for me those years coincided exactly with the 70s, the disco era, what wonderful memories. The Old Lion, the Melbourne Street Underground, Suzi Quatro, dare I say it Garry Glitter, Sweet, Abba, KC and the Sunshine Band, the memories come flooding back.
Anyway back to November 1970 when I turned 12, I attended Hope Valley Primary School and I was in Grade 7 as we called it then. Mr Hoff was my teacher and my overriding passion was pigeon racing. I did not have a lot of friends, just Chris really, in fact this is when I really started to get bullied, I did not like sport and I was not very good at it, it was the start of a tumultuous decade in my life.
In 1971 I started First Year high school at Modbury High School, I didn’t do too bad academically, I wasn’t top of the class as I had been in primary school but I was up there, I held my own. I still was not interested in sport, and I was definitely one of the weaker students, I was no good at craft either, things like woodwork, metal work and plastics, and again I was bullied. I got my first girlfriend in First Year, Angelica, I thought she was it and a bit, but like all teenage romances it fizzled quite quickly.
Second Year came in 1972 and I started to make some friends, mainly with what would today be referred to as nerds, but at least they were friends, I started to fit in somewhere. This is when I first met Tom and Phillip, not that I am saying they were necessarily nerds. My grades started to slip though and from then on they declined steadily as I tried to fit in with the cool kids, I did not want to be a nerd, I desperately wanted to be one of the cool kids.
Third Year in 1973 was a turning point for me, I was making real friends, lifelong friends that I am proud to say I still see today. The students from the new Banksia Park High School moved to Modbury High as their new school was not quite ready, something that I am eternally grateful for. Mandy, Anita, Christine, you all know who you are, and over time the group grew as we welcomed, two Julies, Louise, Fiona, Margaret, and others.
Moving on to 1974 and I just scraped through my exams, but I did have a new friend in Sylvia, but in 1975 when I was doing my Matriculation Year all interest in study was gone, I wagged school constantly, and failed my exams dismally. I had just tuned 17.
In December 1975 I got my first job selling encyclopedias door to door, and then moved on to circuit breakers. You don’t have to be Einstein to work out how that went, I had neither the confidence, the personality, or the drive to succeed here, but before long I had my first full-time job as a sales assistant for Lloyds Australia, and then three years later I was managing a small independent hardware store before becoming unemployed early in 1980.
Back tracking to 1979 when my life changed forever, I met my ex-wife, became a father, and then got married, in that order. The racing pigeons were gone by now but my friends from Banksia Park, Chris from primary school, and Sylvia, Phillip and Tom from Modbury High, were very much a big part of my life. Four wonderful children later, well we all know how that ended, enter Brian, but I still have those wonderful friends.