forever young

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Last weekend I stepped back into another life and time. I spent 24 hours in Tamworth* NSW Australia attending a school reunion*. Of those 24, I had 1 hour free to take location photos.

Most people when they think of Tamworth, think country music and the festival held each January. I’m not a lover of country music… other than a little Johnny Cash. When I think of Tamworth, it’s of being 17 years old, and the 2 years I spent at boarding school.

When I started at Calrossy TCEGS in 1982, I was 16, a small country town kid, and an only child. For a while my psyche was hijacked by bouts of homesickness: one minute I was happy, the next I was wracked with an awful displacement. Then it stopped.

The next thing that happened was I gained weight. I had been a 3 sugars in tea and coffee person but at home in Murrurundi I was incidentally and continually active. Boarding school life was predominantly confined to the buildings and grounds. Weekdays we had morning sessions of physical exercise. I played town comp basketball. We walked to “town”. That was it. I also ate a diet designed around what would cheaply & sufficiently, rather than nutritiously, feed a couple of hundred teenage girls, which we supplemented with food from home and anything we could sneak from the kitchen or dining room… Weet-Bix sandwiches of peanut butter & honey being a favourite.

I acclimatised surprisingly quickly, assisted by being only an hour from home. I saw friends and family regularly. I enjoyed school, the art room, activities, my classmates and teachers. Being a senior I had a certain amount of liberty to leave the grounds, especially in my final year. It was a first taste of freedom and life away from my family.

Boarding school is the same as any situation where people spend a lot of time together… in a relationship, home, workplace… The quote “High school is very intense for everyone. But at a boarding school, because you’re there 24 hours a day, everything gets magnified” sums it up. I made good friends & have only good memories, and at the end of the 2 years, my tears of sadness to be leaving bookended those first tears of homesickness.

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31 thoughts on “forever young

    EllaDee responded:
    May 9, 2013 at 6:24 am

    Reblogged this on elladee_words and commented:
    The 24 hours went quickly, the last hour taking photos, the quickest.

    Like

    Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial said:
    May 9, 2013 at 7:00 am

    We lived at college for the first four years of uni, and it was the same thing – you make friends for life that way! Lovely photos, ED!

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      EllaDee responded:
      May 9, 2013 at 7:36 am

      Thank you 🙂 It’s great to have people, besides family, who have been there through the many stages of life.

      Like

    philosophermouseofthehedge said:
    May 9, 2013 at 8:55 am

    Don’t know which is best: the written word or the photos.
    Boarding school must have been a roller coaster: all those girls 24 hrs a day – and coming in as an only child. So nice you still have them!

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      EllaDee responded:
      May 9, 2013 at 9:51 am

      Thank you 🙂 Pictorially, Tamworth was dry on Sunday morning: no cowboys, no yodellers, no boot scooters.. so I hoped a few words would give it a lift.
      Oh yes, I had an adjustment period but then I was off and running… never looked back 🙂

      Like

    acflory said:
    May 9, 2013 at 9:47 am

    Gah… I went to an all-girl day school and that was bad enough. 😦 It’s nice that you have so many good memories of your time at boarding school though. Were these the girls you had the reunion with recently?

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      EllaDee responded:
      May 9, 2013 at 11:36 am

      Thank you – yes this was the reunion last weekend… in the final hour I managed to escape and take a few photos 🙂

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        acflory said:
        May 9, 2013 at 7:44 pm

        You’re lucky the whole boarding school experience was a positive one. 🙂

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    metan said:
    May 9, 2013 at 10:46 am

    What great weather you had too. So glad to hear you enjoyed it and that the country music was at a minimum. No mean feat in Tamworth I would think! 😉

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      EllaDee responded:
      May 9, 2013 at 11:42 am

      It was so nice to spend time in the sun and fresh air 🙂 I found out after returning from the reunion weekend, that The Angels with Dave Gleeson from The Screaming Jets, who I adore as does Mrs S., played in Tamworth on the Friday night… had we known… The closest I came to country music was the Hands of Fame, where as I hadn’t even had time to buy a souvenir for the G.O. I snapped Slim Dusty’s handprint for the G.O.

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        metan said:
        May 9, 2013 at 11:48 am

        Probably just as well you didn’t know, ditching the reunion for a night at the pub was probably not a good look. 😉
        A combination of the Screaming Jets and The Angels would have had me ditching them too though. 😀

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          EllaDee responded:
          May 9, 2013 at 11:50 am

          Oh dear… the first reunion I ever went to, for my year 10 high school class, I lasted less than half an hour then went to the pub…

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          metan said:
          May 9, 2013 at 12:01 pm

          😀 Obviously you enjoyed this one a bit more then.

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    The Wanderlust Gene said:
    May 9, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    Sounds so familiar, EllaDee, though I went to school in the city. The food, the loneliness turning to friendships – I must remember to update my address at the OGU! Doesn’t look as though much has changed much – timeless country town scenes, and that huge sky. 🙂

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      EllaDee responded:
      May 9, 2013 at 3:36 pm

      When you return you never know what the OGU might invite you to 🙂
      The main street – Peel Street – is quite different now to the years I spent there. Then it was an unadorned main street with shops, footpath and road. It’s since been beautified with trees, wider footpaths & landscaping, and is quite pleasant for a stroll. There were a couple of old fashioned coffee shops and the usual country restaurant/cafe and retail offerings. Now there is an array of good cafes, restaurants and funky shops, mainly due to people leaving and returning and bringing with them new ideas. Otherwise, yes, Tamworth remains much the same.

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    roughseasinthemed said:
    May 9, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    Lovely set of photos. Have you seen Jillian’s blog? lives Tamworth ish. Funny memories of your school days though. Peanut butter sandwiches, everywhere in Australia. But doesn’t spending more time with people cement the bonds more? My longest standing friendships now are with university friends (the school one dropped off the end), and even one of my uni friends has fallen off too.

    So did you enjoy it or not? 😀

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      EllaDee responded:
      May 10, 2013 at 5:55 am

      Thank you 🙂 I was scraping to find time to take them, and the G.O. would have never let me live it down if I missed the plane.
      I did enjoy the reunion – post on EllaDee_words – it’s a group that falls back together easily. But all crammed into 24 hours, it was tiring.
      Yes, I clicked over from your blog to Jillian’s – I remember the Tamworth connection.

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        roughseasinthemed said:
        May 10, 2013 at 8:30 am

        I saw the one on Words and then Safari crashed on me so I lost it and forgot about it. Will check out now.

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    dadirri7 said:
    May 9, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    Tamworth looks like a solid and prosperous town, a good place to be boarding no doubt … and how great that your memories are good and those friendships still vital! I went back to my boarding school for one reunion about 10 years ago and met one or two people I had known … but afterwards one of them published a photo including me and wrote unknown on it … so I did not go back again! (our school merged with the boy’s school so now it is just All Saints in Bathurst)

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      EllaDee responded:
      May 10, 2013 at 6:10 am

      Tamworth is that, and similar to Bathurst where I studied for a while. We visited there early lasy year.
      Not everyone is my class has as happy memories as me – I was older, only there for a short time and lived closer. The boarding school experience can be challenging.
      What an unhappy reunion experience for you – I’m thinking the photo publisher probably like the G.O. isn’t good with names 😉
      I’m happy to go to our smaller class reunions, I’m not sure how I’d go with a broader occasion.

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        dadirri7 said:
        May 10, 2013 at 7:58 am

        you are right of course .. i have been unable to find anyone from my class … i know some are living overseas … it would be different to meet up with those specific people,there would be a host of memories to share 🙂

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    diannegray said:
    May 10, 2013 at 6:08 am

    Looks like you had some great weather for the weekend! I would have loved to see The Angels with Dave Gleeson from The Screaming Jets – maybe next time you’re there they might be playing 😦 I love the picture of the school building. It reminds me of of an old English manor house! I really hope the actual reunion went well for you. Great pics 😀

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      EllaDee responded:
      May 10, 2013 at 7:46 am

      Thank you 🙂 The weather was fantastic – it was a bonus to a very enjoyable but tiring weekend – sum up post on EllaDee_words. The main school building is lovely and befitting of its purpose – typical of those boarding school settings in novels. I haven’t yet told Mrs S. about missing DG & The Angels – she’ll be unhappy.

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    ChgoJohn said:
    May 10, 2013 at 8:44 am

    I remember your last post, EllaDee, in which you described that whirlwind of a weekend. Seeing these pictures, the beautiful weather is hard to miss. I don’t have boarding school experience so I read your posts, and those of others, with interest. I have to believe there’s a great deal of truth behind the Sittenfeld quote. Thanks for taking the time to upload all of the photos and put together this post. I enjoyed it.

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      EllaDee responded:
      May 10, 2013 at 9:59 am

      Thank you – the glorious weather made me a bit sad the G.O. wasn’t with me, as he enjoys trips to Tamworth as much as me. For the same reason it was enjoyable for me to take the photos for the post, we from time to time make a trip there because we like the place. But a girls’ school reunion is really no place for a bloke… even though 2 husbands for reasons I can’t fathom felt the need to be there.
      I think every student before they go to boarding school should read that quote and know what they are in for, I was lucky in that I was older and have a fairly easygoing attitude… many don’t enjoy the environment.

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    Pete Denton said:
    May 11, 2013 at 7:23 am

    Great photographs. We had sky that colour on Monday and Tuesday. Back to rain again. I think we might have just had a two day summer!

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      EllaDee responded:
      May 11, 2013 at 8:21 am

      Thank you 🙂 The weather was truly wonderful, I wished I was spending another couple of days.
      I hope Mother Nature gets herself sorted for you. Otherwise you might have to move to Australia 😉

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        Pete Denton said:
        May 13, 2013 at 5:22 am

        Hahaha Mother Nature has decided those two days were summer and we’ve headed into Autumn already.

        My parent nearly emigrated to Australia before I was born so I could have easily been an Aussie. I think some of the temperatures you get could cause me to melt!

        Like

    Kourtney Heintz said:
    May 15, 2013 at 2:39 am

    Wow what great memories. Despite only having an hour, you captured the heart of the place in your photos. 🙂 Very cool and I love how the captions pop up when you scroll over them.

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    Leanne Cole said:
    May 16, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    What a great story EllaDee, I suppose many people have fond memories of high school, I don’t thought it isn’t so much the school as what was happening around it, still all tied together. Love the photos.

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      EllaDee responded:
      May 17, 2013 at 5:54 am

      Thank you. I think time either heals or amplifies… for me, I look back and see that I was fortunate. I know other people have difference memories and experiences 🙂

      Like

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