My first act of rebellion was to attempt, not once but twice, to run away on my three wheeled trike. Not once, but twice, my attempt was thwarted before I had even pedalled some hundred yards.
It had probably been pre-arranged, but the next I knew was that I was transported to the care of nuns at Villa, a home/boarding school at Ballarat. Sisters of Mercy! What crap!
I endured the sisters for just on eight years, until I got my “Merit Cartificate”.
Occasionally we went swimming at Lake Wendouree, and my swimming attire was Aunty Mary’s one piece swimming suit. How embarrassing! One day I snuck away and disposed of the dreaded attire in some bushes, claiming to the nuns that I had lost it. My act of rebellion! I was so pleased with myself that I don’t recall the consequences.
I then completed my secondary education at St. Pat’s College, also in Ballarat and joined the workforce in Benalla.
I obtained board at the home of a lovely couple who put on a surprise 21st birthday for me.
Not long after this I learnt to drink beer and, one night, while the couple were away for a few days, I had some friends around and we had a small party. The neighbours were quick to tell the couple on their return, and I was evicted!
In time I transferred to St.Arnaud, and then Wodonga, where I worked my guts out, working till 11.30 p.m. of a week night. Although I say it myself, I had developed a wonderful work ethic. At the same time I was boarding at a hotel, and as was common in those days, there was no such thing as 6 o’clock closing. Drink was available until 11 p.m. every day, including Sunday, so I succumbed.
Nevertheless, I retained my work ethic, and one fateful day, when my manager, the “Boss,” arranged with a salesman to do a stock deal which was outside the parameter of the Company’s province, I refused to counter- sign the offending cheque. My act of rebellion! To his credit, the boss didn’t ask another officer for his signature, but referred the issue to the Managing Director in Melbourne. Some tense days! Was I in trouble?
I don’t recall the immediate consequence, but I do recall that the boss and I still got on reasonably well together. Eventually a letter arrived from the Managing Director authorising me, or instructing me, to append my signature to the cheque. No comment as to whether or not I was in the bad books.
However, time heals all, and within several months I was appointed to the position of Assistant Internal Auditor for the Company and its 14 country branches. I believe the decision I had taken had been vindicated!