Wednesday 8 January 2014

Back to School - The Party, the NO Party, and the Dance.

The seventies are in full swing. My fashionable Dutch “hippy” Mum often wore a vivid long rayon technicolour dress with a swirly design; just looking at it turned you crossed eyed and made you feel like you were spinning through a Doctor Who psychedelic enhancer. And she had a shaggy coat with hair as long as a Shih Tzurivaled only by the length of our carpet pile. Dad wore bell bottom trousers and shirts with long pointy collars to work; and caftan tops at home. He had scratchy black sideburns. The interior of our house was classic 1970’s: everything was in shades of green, brown, orange, mustard and cream: from the mottled shaggy carpet, slime green tiles and snazzy olive tone wallpaper to the carpeted lounge chairs, the sunset tiled coffee table and copper wall hangings that Mum was very good at making. Our dining room table was covered in a woven rug which really should have been on the floor – a weird habit the Dutch have. Orange and red lights glowed everywhere, especially in our rustic bar. It was the cool part of the house where friends and family gathered. The walls were covered with shimmering gold and copper wall paper. Fijian Tapa was wrapped around the bar, and funky objects dangled from the ceiling.

Dad grew up a wild child of nature in the north western Outback of New South Wales. The 70’s suited him: he was close to earth and a poet by heart. When he wasn't attending to his subsistence ‘farm’ on our quarter acre block, or watching the footy or cricket, he had his head buried in books, especially the dictionary. Dad loved to read the dictionary. He had won a scholarship to study law at Sydney University but because it was means tested and his father never filed a tax return, he couldn't accept the scholarship or he would get his father into trouble. How parents shape their children’s future. So Dad went to Armidale Teachers College instead – and read the dictionary. By the time we moved to the mountains, Dad had traded teaching for an electronic business just when modern goods were bursting onto Australian shelves. So while we never seemed to have money, we always had the latest household gizmos – and plenty of home grown vegetables to eat.

So much has already happened around the planet since 1975 started. In the world of space, that ‘small step for man and giant leap for mankind’ -and everything else science -has turned into incredible bounds: the USSR’s Soyuz 17 carries 2 cosmonauts into space; Landsat 2, an Earth Resources Technology Satellite, is launched and returns to earth less than a month later, and an Earth-bound object travels 7200 kmph in a vacuum centrifuge in England for the first time.
Importantly for us ladies, it’s International Women’s Year and some women definitely proved that we could do anything as well as men: on February 20th Margaret Thatcher is elected leader of British Conservative Party ( she went on become the longest serving Prime Minister in the UK in the 20th Century and was the only woman in UK history to hold that post). Joining her in the ranks of the conservatives is Malcolm Frazer who becomes leader of the Australia Liberal Party, the party my father voted for.

But ever looming over us is the end of the world and the end of oil. The USA blows up their own Nevada desert with another underground nuclear test and the USSR does the same in someone else’s country (Kazakhstan), escalating what became known as ‘mutually assured destruction’, a.k.a. MAD.  The USA is panicking over the energy crisis so it introduces daylight savings two months earlier than usual to save oil.

In Australia, 2JJ, the predecessor of our iconic and cool youth radio station Triple J, goes to air for the first time on January 19.  But most of us listen to commercial stations where the top hits at this time in 1975  were by Daryl Braithwaite who told women “You’re My World” ( sporting a cigarette while singing in his video clip), Billy Swan offers assistance to longing women in “ I Can Help”, William Shakespeare tells his daughter she's “My Little Angel” , and The Carpenters were begging “MrPostman” for a letter. I used to sing along to the Carpenters because their songs were in my singing range, and about the only band I understood the lyrics to. We didn't have Google back then so we couldn't just look the lyrics up on the internet. Countdown went to air for the first time in colour on March 1, with John Farnham as host. 

But most of us going to Springwood High were blissfully unaware of what was happening in the wider adult world because it’s time to go back to school!

The Party, the NO Party, and the Dance.

My heart has been beating for Mark ever since I started High School.

Wednesday January 29th -  I Hate Second Form

Dear Diary,

School started. I got in some good classes but I hate second form. I didn't see any of my friends or anything. I saw Mark. He’s simply wonderful. I still like him. It’s just not fair that he’s in third year. I don’t think he’s paying any attention to me. I've got to go now. Bye.

Thursday January 30th -   I've Done Something Terrible but I Can’t Tell You What

Dear Dairy,

Guess what? We had to catch a different bus to school today and when I got on it Mark was on it. He kept looking at me though I don’t think it means anything. In first period Mark was on the bus marker next to us. I think he saw me. In second period he was in the Lab next to me. Oh Diary how I wished he liked me. Mum’s in a shitty mood – come to think of it, she’s been like that for a long time. I've done something terrible but I can’t tell you what. Maybe when the time comes I will. Bye for now.

Friday January 31 - I Have to Make my Own Clothes

My mother taught me how to wash, clean, cook, sew, knit and crochet. That’s what she was taught in boarding school in Holland so that’s what she passed onto me. If we wanted clothes we usually had to make them ourselves.

Dear Diary

I made a skirt to wear to squash tomorrow. It’s white and it’s OK. Bye

Saturday February 1 Squash 

Squash was popular in the 70’s and 80’s. It’s hard to find a squash court today. It was my favorite sport with netball which I played, coached and umpired.

Dear Diary

I went to squash today with Glenda and Mark was there. I played a couple games with him and we had real fun. He walked home with me and we had a good old talk. It was good. I like Mark a lot.  Bye

Saturday Feb 15 -  We only Got Two Dollars to Spend at the Show!

Went to Penrith show today with Mum and Dad. It was really good but we hardly had any money: we had $2.00 each to spend and we only stayed for one hour. Saw Debbie and gang but couldn't stick with them cause of Mum and Dad. And you know what? After one hour there we drove to the pub with Mum and Dad and waited three hours for them!!

Wednesday Feb 27 -  Everyone’s Excited About The Party

Dear Diary

Sorry I haven’t written to you for a long time. I forgot about it but I didn't really have much to say. Everyone is excited about the party and I can't wait. I sat in agony today watching everyone swim and I was really hot. It wasn’t fair. I had a cold so I couldn't go swimming. Got to go now. I should have written cause plenty of things have happened and now I've forgotten it all.  Seeya.

Thursday Feb 28 -  The Party.

Dear Diary,

I've just been to a party. It was really good. Glen kept stirring me and calling me Frigid Bardot which I hate. I slapped him a couple of times for it.

Friday Feb 29­ - He tried to strangle his Teddy Bear

Denton wants to go with me. They dragged him right in front of me and told me. He must have felt really embarrassed cause I was. Later they came up and told me that he was getting desperate and he tried to strangle his teddy bear, jump off a cliff. I like him but not enough to go with him. Mark walked me to class today. There was a lot of talk about the party.

Saturday March 1   -  I Had a Drag but it Made Me Sick

Dear Diary

I forgot to tell you, Mum and Dad have gone to Fiji for a week and are coming back tomorrow. I’m staying at the Priestley’s, Jenny's at the Kerrisons. Cindy came over with a pack of smokes. I told her to piss off somewhere else with them. She had 10 in a row. GOD. I had a drag but it made me sick. Bye.

Sunday March 2 -  My New "Cheesecloth" Top

Mum and Dad are home, Mum gave me a top with tassels everywhere (its cheesecloth), some beads, a ruler, some soap and jam. They told me all about their trip and everything. I wish I had been there with them. We ‘might’ be going next year though. They are both really sun burnt and they didn't even lie in the sun. Better go now. I’m glad they had a good time though.

Thursday March 6 - Cooking Classes

Nothing happened today. We are making rice salad, potato salad and tossed salad ( in cooking) and French salad dressing. Jenny Kelly was picked to do the table decorations and everything - as usual. Nothing more happened, so I’m going now. Bye.

Friday March 7   -   Does This Girl Have VD?

This girl was away Thursday and Friday and everyone’s kicked up a big fuss about it.  We were afraid it’s a feeling of guilt but there's probably an innocent reason why she wasn't at school. But we don’t know what to think. Glenda went and told Debbie that I had a smoke a couple of weeks ago, the bloody bitch. I’m not speaking to her. I've got the shits with her. Bye now.

Sunday March 9 -  I’m allowed to Have a Party!!!

I spoke to Debbie last night and discussed me having a party. Oh by the way this girl has a bad cold so it wasn't our suspicions.

I’m allowed to have a party!!!

I asked Mum and Dad this morning if I could have a party and they said yes! Isn't it wonderful? Bye

Monday March 10 - I Hand out Invitations to My Party

I gave out invitations today and everyone is excited. especially Debbie. I can’t wait either. Mark said he would pair up with me today , whether or not he will I don’t know. Denton and Gary dobbed on us today cause we didn't have a library pass. He also told Lynette he liked me but not enough to go with me. Thank God. Bye Now.

Wednesday  March 12 -  OMG - Mum finds a secret note in my school uniform pocket and cancels my party AND I’m banned from going to a party EVER again!!!

Deb and I had a conversation in science on Monday ( on paper) about the party. Things which I wouldn't want Mum and Dad to know about. Anyway, I left the piece of paper in my uniform and Mum read it. Because of that Mum said I can’t have the party and I’m not allowed to go to any more parties cause bloody Mum reckons we're too young to kiss and cuddle as she would say. She got me all upset and Dad isn't even home now so I’m waiting for a great big lecture. I’m not looking forward to it. I’ll tell you all about it when it happens.

Thursday  March 13– Everyone is Upset about the Party

BOY have I got the shits with Mum. I came home and asked her about the party again and she said NO! So I blew her up and was being very nasty and cheeky to her and she got the shits with me and threw me out the door. Then she came in my room and tried to get the lock off my door, but she couldn't. Everyone was upset about the party. Denton, Mark, all of them sat around me today and wouldn't let me go, telling me all these things.

Friday March 14 - Mum Takes the Light out of My Room – and I Still Can’t have the Party

Denton and all them were sitting around me again today, I was sitting on a seat waiting for Debbie and them and all of them came around and sat next to me and wouldn't let me go but I finally got away. I still can’t have the party and everyone's upset about it. Mum went and took the light out of my room tonight the bitch. Bye

Saturday March 15 - I leave ANOTHER note for Mum for to Find with “Terrible Dirty Things” in it

Mum found the stir note Glenda and I wrote to Paul but she didn't tell me about it and I only found out about it today.  Dad keeps saying things like “do you want to go back to your room and write another letter’”. Then he told me about the letter. Oh God what have I done? They can’t even trust their own daughter. Oh Lord please help me. I’m ashamed. I hate everyone.

Sunday March 16  - Any Other Parent Would do What Mum Did

 I had a talk with Dad last night about the letter and he gave this lecture on sex and was very understanding. Dad said it wasn't the letter that got him it was how I left it in my top draw for Mum to find! Anyway I talked to Dad about the parties and dance etc and he said not to mention it anymore until the next party and tell him about it first. I didn't think Mum would get so shitted up about playing spin the bottle, it was the letter, but why didn't she tell me? I guess she was too disgusted. God I hate myself. I bet any other parent would do what Mum did under the circumstances so Mum isn't as bad as I made out. I’ll tell you more about it later.

 Monday March 17 - What do you reckon

 I had the same old shits with Craig , Denton, Mark and all of them . They reckon they are going to come to my place today and they did. I was just walking out the door when I saw them and ran inside and started being really stupid and wetting myself and when I finally did come out I didn't say anything. Anyway, Glenda asked them what they were here for. Bill said “what do you reckon”.  

Tuesday March 18  - 

 Went to netball training. Saw Bill, Stewart, Mark and some other kids. Cassandra was there today worst luck and Cindy. Cathy and Cathy were smoking on the way home.

Thursday March 20 - I Still Love Mark

Mark was on library duty. I asked him how he went in the swimming carnival: he came 4th. I still love him. Debbie and Jo had a fight but made up at lunch time. Three boys are coming over to see me on Monday but I don’t know who they are. I hope its Mark.

Saturday March  22 -  I’ll Never Dance with Mr Neighbour Again!

Played netball against Penrith Rep. Lost all games 11-6, 11-7, 6-4. I made a skirt to wear to the dance today in 2 hours – how’s that for a record. Watched The Osmonds on TV. Gosh they are good, really fantastic. When I was going to bed Dad wanted to dance with me and then Mr Neighbour.  Mr Neighbour holds you so close and tight. I started getting nervous, so I said I was getting hot and went to get a drink and said good night –Thank God. His face was one inch from mine, can you imagine! I’ll never dance with him again! It would be OK if it was MARK. Mum went and took my bed lamp off my bed cause I left my light on Sunday. Seeya

Sunday March 23 - 

 I can’t wait until tomorrow afternoon. I think I’ll just stay in my uniform. The only trouble is if Mum’s home I’ll have to go to Glenda’s – if she lets me. If she isn't I’ll have to stay home cause I’m not allowed anywhere if she’s not home. Anyway, we’ll see what happens. Mum took my light out of my room and she isn’t going to give it back. Bye.

Monday March 24 – “ If You Want to talk About Me, Do it at My Face”

They didn't come. This time I was looking forward to them coming and they didn't. Pooh I had a fight with Debbie today. Debbie dropped Ian and then went back with him Debbie told me to piss off because they were talking about me. And I said, “as you said, if you want to talk about me, do it at my face” and she said “at least I make sure you’re far away before I talk about you” and we carried on. So Jo, Julie and I pissed off and we’re not going back for a while either, I haven’t told you about the dance yet and it’s on Wednesday

Tuesday March 25 My New Blue Opal Nail Polish is “Beautiful”

No school today isn't that wonderful? It was a drag. All I did was homework – oh yeah, I wrote a letter to Cheryll and sent it. I also went to the shops and bought some nail polish – blue opal. It’s beautiful. I just put some on and I reshaped my nails. I told Dad about the dance and he said he can’t take me cause of work, we’ll work something out though. Seeya

Wednesday March 26 - The Dance

The dance was good. I flirted a lot and won free bottles of drink and two handkerchiefs by bringing the boys a shoelace and a belt to a teacher. I danced with a lot of boys and Stewart but he went off later with Glenn and flirted with other girls. Stewart was really serious with one chick, Renea someone or rather. The band was quite good and we danced a lot. Many boys put their arms around me. Boy I wish Mark was there but 3rd form weren't allowed. It’s not fair. I got sprung a few times for not wearing shoes. I've got glitter through my hair and it won’t come out. I had it on my face too. If only Mark was there. The dance would have been just perfect.

Thursday March 27– I Guess its Puppy Love

The group of boys asked me if wanted to do to the party again and I said I don’t know, Ill have to think about it. What would happen if I went to the party and I turned out to be the only girl going? I hate to think about it. I said hello to Mark today and then Cathy started talking to him. And I got jealous. I luv mark. I guess it’s ‘puppy love’ though but people have told him so many times I like him so he must get very sick of me. I went to sleep in maths today. I was so tired. I think I hurt my hip at the dance cause it was aching today and I could hardly walk.

Friday March 28  -  “We Went Down the Bush on Our Bikes”

I slept in until 11.00 this morning. Isn’t that terrible! I was so tired. Mr Priestly fixed my bike. Stewart , Gavern , Craig and Tonkins rode by on their bikes and Stewart goes hello passionfruit and all this and I had to explain to Leanne who was who. We went down the bush on our bikes, boy did we have a rough time. I keep wishing Mark was here. I really like him. God if anyone (Mum, Dad, or Jenny) ever read this diary. Well I hate to think about it. Anyway they shouldn't have been snooping in my bedroom!

Saturday March 29  – I Have to do Boys Jobs Around the House.

We had no boys in the family so I had to do the lion’s share of helping Dad around the garden since my sister was only ten.

Dear Diary

Dad wanted us to carry a whole tonne of thick branches of trees down the front for him to burn. God they were heavy. You know the fire started burning and then it started raining and the fire kept burning and it’s still burning. The Priestley’s were supposed to come to tea tonight and we got all the dishes ready and everything and Mr Priestly rang to say they couldn't come cause Mr Priestly is sick! Well its Easter tomorrow and no eggs. What’s an Easter without eggs!

Sunday March 30- Its Easter and We Didn't Have ANY Eggs at All!!!

Nothing much happened today. We had to relight the fire because it went out. Well it’s Easter. I slept in in the morning.  Mum gave us 1 dozen eggs( chocolate) in a funny sort of egg box.  Jenny and I gave Mum and Dad some eggs too. Guess what, every Easter Mum Boils eggs and colours them and we can eat as many as we like. But this Easter we didn't have ANY eggs at all!!!

Monday March 31 – God it’s Getting Cold

Leanne’s real stuck up most boarders get that way. She doesn't even say hello to me anymore. And if I say hello to her she ignores me. At first she was good kid but now? The stump finally burnt out and plenty of wood was left over and I had to take it all back up again. God its getting cold, it really is. The winds howling and it’s raining. Talk about miserable weather hey! See-ya,

Written by Petra Campbell

Twitter: @petraau