But first we feasted, thankfully figuratively and not literally, on bugs and insects.
Bev invited us to share childhood and other memories of ‘creepy crawlies’. Introduced by an internet account of the destruction of a white cedar tree by larvae of the White Cedar Moth, other group members catalogued home invasions by other infestations. To balance the horror, we were introduced to a pet rat which, for some, did not relieve the discomfort.
Heather began, sharing two personal memoirs on subjects carried over from previous weeks. The first memoir described precious objects which included a gift bible received during Queen Elizabeth’s coronation and black and white photos of Heather’s grandparents. Under threat from natural disasters, Heather shared her priorities of ‘people, pets, photos, and then precious objects….If she had time, clothes were included’. Her second memoir revealed why Heather is so often invited to deliver an Anzac Day address.
In Barry’s absence, Bev read his memoir on ‘learning from history’. For Barry, trust in others has been essential in his functioning as a community leader. After some disappointments though, he has learnt to be a little cynical of enthusiastic offers and waits to assess the quality of community service offered.
Bev followed with her memoir of learning to knit from her grandmother. From plain and pearl to rib and moss stitch, Bev shared the joy of making a pom pom for her first knitted beanie. Learning to knit and crochet taught Bev that perseverance can lead to valued outcomes, whether a beautiful Afghan rug or a website with posts of group newsletter reports and stories patiently compiled each month to record Benalla U3A activities.
Graham followed the theme of ‘learning from history’ by blending his move to Benalla, with the adage that ‘when you look behind you, you see the future in your footprints’. In retrospect, Ray celebrated the Apollo 11 success in landing a man on the moon. Yet also questioned what impact the 100 billion (today’s dollars) spent on this project world have on world homelessness.
Under the topic, ‘shaped by childhood’, Neville shared with admiration the work ethic of both his mum and dad and his mum’s enjoyment of family and the acknowledgement of his dads ‘war hero’ status. Yet Neville also acknowledged that without a work schedule he has a sense of loss and his dreams reflect his struggle to embrace a post-employment lifestyle.
From a very different perspective, Phil recounted his and his family’s experience as migrants from the United Kingdom. The separation of family between the Melbourne migrant centre and Lady Northcote Farm School would have lifelong impacts on his family, only hinted at within this memoir. What he experienced and what he learnt, has been left for further memoirs.
James ‘reached for the sky’ with a narrative of a journey begun by admiring a top-dressing aircraft as a young boy, and concluded by traversing the Pacific in a Hawker Siddeley Andover as an RAAF pilot. His conclusion acknowledges that which ‘shaped his childhood’, yet also leaves open the door for further exploration.
Finally, Carmyl shared a delightful recounting of ‘making do’ on a limited budget and a plentiful garden. The ‘cook and the gardener’, her parents, were clearly multi-skilled and much of the food preparation and storage skills have been ‘handed down’. If we can source a wood stove, would Carmyl offer a cup of ‘beef tea’?
July’s 500 words topics - ‘I Changed My Mind…’ “Describe a time when you changed, or had your mind changed, perhaps through some advice, direct or indirectly received. Describe the context in which this happened, and what opportunities (hopefully) resulted as a result of this”.
Alternative - ‘I quit’ “We've all quit something - a job, a musical instrument, a food group or a bad habit. Tell us your story of quitting. What brought you to breaking point? Was it exhilarating or challenging to quit? What strengths did you draw upon and how did people react? What new opportunities were created once you quit?”