Saturday, 25 August 2012

I found my bicentennial medal... and a box full of letters.

Firstly, I must apologise if this blog entry seems a bit scattered or doesn't make sense. I've been sick for a few days and our little one has croup so my head isn't particularly clear. I've been so slack on the blog-front lately though I thought I should post something. Also I typed half of this using the blogger app on my phone for the first time which might add to the post's wonkiness. Oh well. Let's pretend any content is good content... just for now?

You might remember that a few weeks ago I was pondering the question 'Where are all the School Students' Australian Bicentennial medals?' Well, I did actually find my medal  a few days ago. It was where I suspected it might be, in a box full of letters I've saved from my teen years. After I dusted off the medal and noted the autographs collected inside its cardboard cover - my own(!?!) and one other school chum's - I obviously made a big effort there - I chuckled at myself and started reading a few of the letters.

I had just turned 14 when our family moved half way across the country and the letters were mainly from school friends. It was supposed to be a permanent move but for many reasons we ended up back in Sydney six months later. As I'm sure you know there was no email or texting and no 'online' social networking for that instant and anywhere contact. At least not for anyone I knew. It was all snail-mail and an occasional phone call and so my friends and I undertook a furious letter-writing campaign trying to keep in touch. The first few letters I read from this box had some typically funny and slightly embarrassing teen stuff in them but I found that what struck me the most was they were rather sad too. I was surprised. Although after our family's move I found myself in a new place trying to figure out where I would belong, some of the friends I'd left behind were struggling to find where they fitted amongst the others at my old school now that our little group had shrunk so small. My departure had left a bit of a hole. And this still surprises me because even at this age self-confidence and I are usually almost strangers. I often assume that I am rather un-memorable (I know that isn't exactly a real word but 'forgettable' isn't quite the word I'm looking for) and I can still be surprised when someone says 'yeah, I remember you'. I mean, I remember them but for them to remember me is always a surprise. Why? I don't know. And if they remember me but I don't remember them I am even more surprised. I knew I missed my friends when I was 14 but for them to miss me too... I am still surprised to read that. Reading through all those letters again will take some time and I'm not sure whether they are something worth keeping for my children or possible grandchildren.  I guess their purpose right now is to remind me that I have always been important to someone, somewhere. Everyone is important to someone, somewhere. Don't forget it. (Especially if it is a little boy with croup.) To the friends who wrote the letters to me, thank you always! xx

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