I am heading away this weekend for a catch up with friends I went to Teachers College with, back in the 80’s…more than 30 years ago.
When we first met up in 1983, we were 18 years old, (younger than my daughters are now), and now most of us are 52. We were straight out of High School..with no thought of Gap Years, or travelling through Europe. It was HSC, Christmas Holidays, then off to University, or for us, Armidale Teachers College.
We were kids from country, and coastal towns throughout NSW mostly, and for 3 years we had a fantastic time…socialising, studying, socialising, socialising, and more socialising!!!
For the first year we all lived on campus, most of us at Smith House, but many also scattered throughout the campuses at UNE. How great was that time!!
We were independent, yet still kind of protected within the group environment that campus living provided. We were fed 5 days a week, in a dining room which was always noisy, with big tables, lines of kids, and food that sustained us, but probably didn’t delight us…but generally we weren’t complaining .
Within our rooms, we all had a kettle, maybe a toaster, or even more special, a toasted sandwich maker ..a Breville.!! We had posters on our walls, and maybe a Cassette Tape Deck/Radio. We watched TV in the common rooms, used the shared laundry, and managed to negotiate the shared unisex bathrooms, occasionally dodging the cold water thrown over the less than private door!!
We had talent shows, dances, and managed to make very little money go a very long way at the pubs around Armidale. It was the time of free University study, so whilst having to pay for our board on campus , our studies were free and we left College, with what was then a Diploma of Teaching (Infants, Primary)..and more importantly no financial debt to the Government that would hang around for years…lucky us.!! We were some of the last years to have that privilege.
After completing our study we all went our different ways. At that time many of us headed north to Queensland, and the Northern territory, and as young people do, kind of drifted away from each other, creating new lives wherever we settled.
This was the time before mobile phones, so keeping in regular touch meant either writing letters, or ringing on the landline, and as we moved about , most of us didn’t even know each others new addresses, let alone phone numbers. So basically we lost touch…to be expected , but sad just the same…
That is until the “miraculousness” of things like Facebook…where gradually we got on board, and managed to lurk around, snooping out lost friends, and seeing what they had grown up into…before very hesitantly making contact once again.
Some….yes, we probably needed to leave in the past..but how joyous is it to meet up once again with some true friends…ones that knew you while you were still young, and yet becoming the adult you are now… That is a very special time in our life, and the ones who were there are special also!
These people were there when you made some really bad ‘youthful’ decisions, they probably either tried stopping you, or were there cheering you on…but guaranteed they were there to pick you up afterwards…or at least pat you on the back, and hold your hair back!
This weekend I am meeting up with some of these people once again. 30 years have gone past… we are now older than many of our lecturers were back then , older than our parents were back then, and we even have children older than we were back then…but the really odd thing is that when we talk to each other, (as we have been doing in preparation for this reunion), the 30 years drop away, and we are, as we were back then, good friends just wanting to have a laugh and have fun…. Some friendships are able to withstand a 30 year gap, and a weekend away finds us picking up where we left off back in 1985…The Champagne is on ice girls…see you soon!!…I’ll recognise you by the teal taffeta dress!!