Thursday, 26 November 2015

Schoolies Week


This is my year 12 photos. Might be a bit blurry like my vision today, but it's as clear as a bell in my mind.


If you are the parents of one of the few kids spirited off to the hospital for conditions undisclosed, or parents of one of the few who have been  arrested for being drunk or fighting or whatever, then maybe you will figure that this year's schoolies has been a bit shit. But as a resident living only a couple of Ks from the epicenter or the festivities, I reckon it has been going pretty well.

The local media is usually keen to hype up any of the naughtiness the kids get up to, but this year they have been pretty quiet.

My girl, who partied hard almost 15 years ago - yeah we chattered about that this week and at the ripe old age of 32, she felt like a grandmother, said this year's lot must be behaving themselves.

It made news this year, and possibly not for the first time, that undercover coppers were staking out the bottleos, and charging and fining anyone buying booze for minors. I get it. It's against the law to supply alcohol to minors. But as I heard this I drifted back to perhaps a simpler time 15 years ago.

I drove my Girl and 2 of her mates to their unit. It was right on the beach, just a few hundred yards north of Surfer's. They carried in their clothes and I carried in their cartons. We all got to and filled the fridge and they squealed like the youngsters they were, and I popped into the bedrooms and found waste baskets to place next to the beds in case of vomit misshaps. Not pleasant in the thinking but in an interest in collecting the bond, more than a little pragmatic.

I then surveyed the rest of the unit. No, I didn't care about the view, or the size of the tellie or how comfy the couch was, I was on the hunt for breakables. Yes I left 'em some glasses and some plates, but all decorative china and glassware and side lamps were stashed into cupboards so that if they stumbled after a couple, they only fell over. I left nothing expensive to break their falls.

I had been teaching seniors up to their graduations for 20 years, and knew well the shenanigans of final celebrations. I just wanted these kids to be as safe as I could make 'em.

Yes I knew they were gonna drink and get fall down drunk.

Yes I was worried sick about it.

Yes I made my girl promise to ring me every afternoon even for a second just to keep me sane.

Yes I knew I was breaking the law.

If my child was finishing school now I might be less happy about schoolies week, but only because I am an old gal now and quite removed from the reality of it all,  but I wouldn't stop 'em going. I am not sure why, but it has become a rite of passage.

For the vast majority of the kids this is just a week of letting loose. For many it's the first time away from parents and adults for an extended time and for most I bet it is a memory machine that will feed 'em til they are old enough to be thinking they are too old for all this.

When I finished school, it was all a bit anticlimactic cos some dickhead had taken it into his head to break into the science block on the night previous and do damage. Needless to say the police and the school authorities were about as happy about that as we were that our big day had been buggered up. The police investigated and the culprits were caught I think and the rest of us were marched off the school grounds - no pranks with glad wrap over the toilets, or putting bicycles on the roof, or songs from, 'To Sir With Love.' Just an unceremonious exit. Goodbye and good riddance.

We made hurried arrangements to meet up at the Wynnum foreshores after dark. A bonfire was built and 12 years' of school shit that our parents had not saved as precious mementos were used as fuel. We felt like we were being quite the rebels.

I don't think the police came along to move us on or douse the flames.

I remember it as being a burning ritual and quite cathartic as kids watched their failures burn alongside someone else's distinctions.

All life events need to be marked somehow. Of course we get to decide the HOW and the HOW for the end of 12 years of institutional marching is at the moment, a week in the sun.

I really hope that the last of their time is fun but uneventful - at least from this oldie's perspective.


Would you be happy to let your kids loose at the Goldie for a week?