This time of year I always brace myself for “This Is Your Life” style tributes on Facebook as many of our esteemed citizens reach a momentous milestone, the age that enables them to waddle off to school for the very first time.
Normally titled “I can’t believe how quickly my baby has grown up” the retrospective photos fly thick and fast with descriptions like “Look at Will getting his first pair of low cost slacks from Zara” or “How cute! Ava put the TV remote in the nappy bin” and “Jackson sees someone from the Western suburbs at IKEA”
This is nothing compared to the slide show that follows on the actual day. Modern Dad captures the whole two-hour process on handy cam then retreats to the front seat of the Forrester, slumps and blubbers all over his One Direction style chinos. Meanwhile an equally emotionally Modern Mum is almost too distraught to blog about her feelings.
The kids, as expected take it all in their stride, leaving Mum and Dad to partake in the school provided counselling for parents, upload 400 pictures to Instagram and to plan where they are going to lunch.
This is a far cry from when I was a kid when it was one photo by the backdoor by yourself, one with my brothers and that was it. When we arrived at school, Mum barely stopped the Kingswood at the gate, the door flung open and I was on my way. As for the old man, he was nowhere to be seen. Not that he wasn’t concerned about our welfare; at home he was super attentive, whenever we used the toaster he made us wear rubber-soled shoes to avoid electrocution.
After the emotion subsides comes the parental outrage on the realisation that demountables still exist in our schools and that at least 12 across the state are without air conditioning. We barely had a fan in our schoolrooms, the only AC was reserved for the principals office so he could administer the cane without building up a sweat. We only had an old fashioned furnace with an archaic thermostat that turned the heat on every day from 9am until 3pm from May 1 to September 1 regardless of the weather. It could be 35 degrees outside and it would still be cranking on high.
We weren’t that enamoured with demountables back then either. At the end of Year 6 we cheered as we watched our old classroom with its asbestos clad walls being craned on to a truck.
The joy was short lived though, it was only transported a few kilometres down the road to the Secondary School where it was to become our Year 7 art room.