Bev then introduced the idea of a memoir by referencing a speaker some years ago at Benalla Library, Kevin Peoples, who recounted his experience as ‘Bob Santamaria’s salesman’, and also referenced guidelines for the class in writing and sharing personal memoirs. In general discussion, Neville recommended ‘Boswell and Johnson’s Scottish Road Trip’ on SBS.
We then moved into members’ memoirs.
Under ‘New in Town’, Heather H explored her families move to Australia, inevitable challenges and occasional cultural misunderstandings. She concluded that moving to Australia, was the ‘best idea’ the family ever had. Heather W celebrated and acknowledged that her move to Winton provided an opportunity to expand and deepen her interest in motorsports. Through resilience and persistence, she has built a life for herself now in Benalla and in both settings, has utilized her natural and enhanced leadership skills.
A variety of memoirs were explored under the theme: ‘The Season I’.
Bev revealed her adventures learning to drive on ice and later, discovering herself at the top of a ski slope. With no idea how to ski to the bottom, she was ‘lucky’ to survive with a few broken ribs. Her teacher exchange in British Colombia gave her many lasting memories. Michelle, in ‘Under Attack’, shared with us a wonderfully lyrical account of the great Christmas Day water fight, twenty-five years ago. Although the years ‘may have dimmed the accuracy of the detail’, the unbridled fun of the battle stays clear in her memory.
Neville shared a cavalcade of images and experiences associated with particular seasons and noted how the seasons have changed over the years, not least because of changing perceptions, a result of the natural aging process. Carmyl introduced us to her friend Cat from Aceh province, the daughter of a former Colombo Plan student Carmyl and her husband Don, had supported while working in Aceh. Carmyl led us through a series of experiences as Cut learnt about the Australian way of life.
Barry introduced us to some of the challenges of a dry Summer on an Australian farm. Trucking water, challenges of ‘bringing in the harvest’ and the danger of fires when temperatures rose above 40 degrees. Phil introduced us to scenes from an English dairy farm and shared his ‘aha’ moments, as he learnt about the life of a dairy cow. Jill took us back to the summer of 1967, relaying vivid memories of the harrowing impact on her family and community of both severe drought and the lead up to the hanging of Ronald Ryan. Ray shared how the encouragement of patrons of the country hotel in which he boarded as a young single man in 1958 led him to become a competitive bowler, and described a final in which he participated, winning by match light. Finally, Graham introduced us to his personal paradigm shift in understanding seasons. He shared information on the six seasons identified by the Gariwerd peoples and a five-schema suggested by the CSIRO.
Topics for our session on Monday 20 March at 2pm -
‘Precious Objects’ Tell us about a memento, an object (or a group of objects) from a time in your past that has been important to you, and why. You always carry it with you whenever you move and find it very hard to let go of. Maybe it has a story behind it, or it's been a powerful presence in your life. Bring along the item if you can, or at the very least, a photo!
Alternative topic - ‘Failure’ ‘Write about a failure you’ve experienced – from the commonplace to the catastrophic – in 500 words’.