Fri. Jun 21st, 2024

Today I was working at a library that’s near one of the old high schools I used to work at as a teacher. It being Saturday (no students around), I figured I’d go and have a look at the old place and reminisce. I couldn’t go onto the grounds, so I just looked from the footpath and walked around the school. From the front entrance it looked the same as I remembered it, though there was a sign saying renovations were planned. I used to do bus duty here out the front. I walked around to the side via a side road and checked out the old portables where I used to teach my Media Studies class. I liked teaching Media, but I didn’t often get the chance to do it. I also taught Photography here, in a studio that had a dark room, enlargers, chemical trays, the whole bit. We were using film back then – very old school.

At the end of that first year my Media Studies contract was up for renewal and I had to re-apply. I lost out to someone else, someone I was told by the Principal (trying to placate me) who impressed them with her TV industry experience. A few months later I was asked to fill in for her when she was away, so I found out who she was, and it turned out she was one of my old Media Studies students from my first teaching appointment many years before. Ah yes, the student becomes the teacher. I wish I could take credit for ‘inspiring’ her, but really, I remember she was into media studies long before I came along. Maybe I helped a bit. I hope so. But she didn’t last long – left early for some reason. So I guess I had the last laugh.

This is also the school where I was when I met that Apollo astronaut, Charlie Duke. That was quite a day. But I remember the students most of all. The young lad who came up to me one lunch time and said he’d read and loved all of Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea stories, having been inspired by my reading the first book to his class one time. Proud moment. The three girls in my year 8 English class (yeah, I taught English too) who were all named Kelly, and whom I called the Kelly Gang.

Then there’s that year 11 English class I had that had my favourite student (yes, we teachers do have favourites, but we don’t usually talk about them). Her name was Linda Rainbow, a pretty girl with penetrating eyes and a scar on one side of her face that added character to her beauty. There was nothing untoward about all this, we just seemed to have a connection, a good rapport. One time I threw out some Yoda speak – ‘You must unlearn what you have learned’ – and she threw it right back – ‘A-ha, help you I will’. That kind of thing. I often used to think of that song, She’s a Rainbow by the Rolling Stones, in connection with her. It only occurred to me later, but I guess a nice moment of synchronicity in all this occurred at the library that day, before the visit to the high school. I was shelving some books in the Biography section and sighted a copy of Anita Pallenberg’s biography. She had been a girlfriend of both Brian Jones and Keith Richards, and apparently inspired the song, She’s A Rainbow. And that was the title of the book…I wonder where Linda is and what she’s doing now.

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