What gave me food for thought regarding how Face Book made Reunions Redundant as my daughter and I on a Saturday afternoon were lazing over a glass of Sauvignon Blanc with a bowl of fries in the newly revamped C15 café at the bottom of Risely St, sweating, wearing sunglasses, leaning back in our seats looking cool, seated behind a clear heavy duty plastic café curtain, the sun was raining down upon us and we were cooking.
Minor details as nothing was going to deter us. Very impressed and relaxed were we with the new fit out, feeling very sophisticated drinking wine, knowing that one and only one wine was all we could handle should we wish for us and other road users to make it home safely after a successful shopping trip.
We were discussing the pros and cons of a school reunion; a set of her high school friends organise a regular stint out for a dinner rendezvous every three months. Time to catch up on the goss with those that she values. A school reunion is in the throes of being organised, her thoughts are what give?
She says, ‘The people I want to see I do so any way, and it’s being held in a bar, not at the school, where ideally I wish it was held in the gym with teachers present’ (No teachers have been invited).
‘Everyone else I see on Face Book and I know what they are up to’. Maybe she is feeling overly cautious. That got me thinking as to what would happen if I was invited to a school reunion, I can tell you for sure, I probably wouldn’t recognise anybody, I wouldn’t know what to say as surprising as that seems as I am now mouth almighty and more to the point, I live in another country as to where I went to school, so major fail.
There is however two girls I would love to see again and here is my story about Melanie, and yes I have tried to find her without success, remembering her surname might help. Melanie had a face full of large freckles, the palest skin and the blondest hair; she was a lot of fun. My mother took me out of that school and I never saw her again.
I was very envious of my friend Melanie, they had the classic banana shaped seventies house with the most magical stone fireplace dominating the large wood floored living room. I didn’t know anyone apart from my immediate neighbours (I didn’t get out much) who had such a tidy home, such expansive rooms with a wall of windows opposite the fireplace looking out onto rich green lawn. What’s more there was only the 5 of them, in our house there were 8, that’s including the parents. Her mum as I remember her was the most elegant woman I knew, blond hair cut into a chic shape, her hair curled up at the ends and rested on her shoulders, Audrey Hepburn style ankle length trousers and a short boxed checked cotton short sleeved shirt, often wearing an apron covered in clay residue.
Melanie had two older red haired brothers, tall, freckly and gangly. I remember always a strong sense of family unit, the boys involved in sport, a father who was a pilot and a mother who was an artist. Melanie’s mum had her own pottery wheel and I would secretly watch her work her magic, apron on, hands covered in light coloured clay, wheel spinning. A bright home full of her work, clay shaped bowls, vases and figurines, that had been dried in her kiln, hand painted by her own hands.
The yard I remember was terraced, we played and played in that open yard that overlooked a valley of tall pine trees, the valley ground littered with pine needles and cones, as I close my eyes I can smell the forest, a calming effect, breathing in the strong forest smell, remembering what it was like to walk over a garden of pine needles, shifting beneath my feet hoping not to slip, no fence to stop us. I remember on the other side of the forest there were tennis courts; you could hear the whack of tennis balls, laughter, scores being bandied about. I did try to play tennis, coordination was not my friend that and the fact that I hated the heat. I hear you laughing as I now live in hell especially during summer.
We spent a lot of time playing on the bleached timber deck that wrapped itself around the back of the home, running around, up and down the terraced stairs, one of her brothers would sometimes come and sit and watch us at play till Melanie sent him packing. You would never have known the magic that waited out the back of this property had you entered the front. A wide driveway, perfectly trimmed garden, white painted window frames, weatherboards painted a light grey, garage and studio attached to the home to the right side of the driveway.
I remember the bedrooms had plush white carpet that your toes sank into, your feet silent as you walked around this area of the home. I loved staying over, a mattress on the floor especially for me beside Melanie’s bed, the bathroom, was to me enormous, so clean and bright, the skylight allowing light to brighten not only the bathroom but the hallway to, white tiles reaching up to the ceiling, now that is something I had never seen, this was truly a place I didn’t want to leave.
Polar opposite to where I lived, in a very noisy house that always looked like it had been ransacked, which to be fair I probably contributed to. I did try on many occasions to clean and tidy while mother had a sleep to alleviate a migraine. Always got me into trouble. Once I did the washing and then placed the washing in the dryer unfortunately my 8-year-old brothers hand made knitted jumper came out of the dryer a size suitable for a 3 month old. Then I cleaned an iron skillet, how was I supposed to know that it is supposed to have a film of grease on it. These episodes always led to some disaster and I bore the brunt of some form of punishment.
Lunch, I remember so clearly, like it was this morning in Melanie’s home, a warm sunny autumn Saturday, the family together, sitting around a large table layered with fresh home baked bread, vegetables and lambs tongue that was planted directly in the middle of a plate in the centre of the table. I was horrified, I could only imagine a baby lamb that had lost its tongue, and all I could see was this fat slab of pink speckled spiky tongue staring back at me. I wouldn’t eat the tongue no matter how hungry I was, but I did have the warmed bread with lashings of butter, cheese and vegemite. They had the tongue and vegetables.
Now a few years down the track, I am now 16, her brother who must have fancied me, one would hope because he asked me out a few times, I refused. Who in their right mind would take a fancy to me unless they wanted something I wouldn’t give them, after all that’s all the boys would want from me surely. I was well endowed and not that bad to look at.
He rang and asked if I would go to the beach with him and his friends, thank you but no I wouldn’t go. Still he and a carload of friends, teenagers, laughing, living life, turned up to convince me to go to the beach. I looked out at that car load of teenagers, mother in the background, shouting words of encouragement, too scared and incredibly shy, there was no way I was stepping foot outside that front door, as I looked into his fresh freckled face, his floppy auburn hair, me apologising, thanking him for asking, even though I had already told him over the phone that I wouldn’t go. He deserved better, loads of points for not giving up. Would have been fun maybe if I had the confidence to go.
I don’t ever remember Melanie coming to our house, wonder why?