Harley Wright writes:
I had George Cumming for Maths in 1st and 2nd year from memory. We respected George. I think teachers fall into 2 camps - those you respect and those you don't. Am not quite sure what earns them respect. I remember George as generally gentle - firm but fair, I suppose. But David Barnet claims he could get pretty physical. Well David, as Basher's son, isn't that calling the pot black?

While George wasn't overtly evangelical like Col Bowser, I do recall in a final class of the year he raved on about numerology and the bible. Something about 'the Word of God' being = 37 in a language and how this recurred in some amazing combination of 37 - 'times' or 'to the power', or whatever. [It seems he was wrong - isn't the answer 42?]. This was one time when the smirks were hard to hide.

But I can never forget the time the laughter could not be suppressed at George's expense!

Scene: Eastern quad towards the end of lunchtime. George was on playground duty at the southern end. He must have been a tidy person and even considerate of the groundsmen who had to deal with the garbage bins. While on patrol, if he spied any bins overflowing with lunch wrappers, etc he would push them down with his foot and pick up any papers beside it for which there hadn't been room till he made some in the bin.

At the northern end of the quad I noted a suspicious gaggle of kids - a year senior as I recall. When I sussed it out I found they were carrying a garbage bin very carefully, "Don't rock it - or you'll spill the water".

The bin had no rubbish at all in it but it was 3/4 full of water. Carefully, without leaving any giveaway spills on the dry asphalt, they carried the bin from a tap, across the playground to a standard spot for bins between a gap in the bench seats.

Then they took rubbish from another bin and first floated a lot of grease proof paper on top of the water in the bin, then the usual motley collection of brown paper bags, chip and ice cream packaging etc. And they scattered more rubbish on the ground around the water containing but camouflaged bin so it looked really overflowing with rubbish. And we waited with bated breath.

Damn, the bell rang. The playground started to empty. George headed north towards the front of the school. A group of us hung back expectantly. He was dreaming along, not looking at the bin. Then he saw it, changed course, and like a dog at a tree, raised his leg and put his foot right in - straight to the bottom of the water filled bin. I still practically wet myself when I think of it.

And what a clever prank, picking on the idiosyncratic behaviour of a teacher. Not really harmful, though I would be peeved if I had been caught like that.

I think George has now passed on to that great, kind classroom in the sky. I hope our pranks were not thought of too badly.

That smartarse, know-it-all jurno Rod Wise writes:

At the risk of STILL sounding like a smartarse, know-all journo, let me state that just as Scrubbs Scanlon got it wrong in 1961, so he got it wrong again in 2001. He"s got his Bates's crossed.
The famous "Massta" Bates was the pommie science teacher, John St.Q. Bates; while the librarian was "Opium Joe" Bates, as in opium, the slow-working dope. Charitable little pricks, weren't we? - on reflection, I sometimes wonder that if the roles were reversed and we were the teachers, and THEY the pupils, wouldn't most of us end up like YAK? Interesting thought for the day, isn't it!

Ken West writes:
Regretfully I will not be attending the reunion but wish you and colleagues every success for a memorable weekend. You know in my current business of funds management I receive +100 emails each day, many of which get balloted out in the pre-selection! However my emails at home, even though they have swelled in recent times are all read and thoroughly enjoyed. I am continually amazed at the detailed recall by many, or is it embellishment over the years? I must thank you for your efforts in coordinating and planning the Event and hope that for interstate laggards like myself we as a group can maintain the chatroom. Cheers (sorry for the late reply).....

Super (breathing hard on Wise's shoulders) sleuth Thompson reports:
Robert Douglas Wilson is at 555 Fifth St Struthers Ohio 44471, ph (w) 00111 330755 8888, fax 0011 1 330755 9999,e-mail robert@ayresrok.com I spoke to his wife Roslyn at his Sydney address (2 Cumberland Ave Lane Cove 2066, ph 9427 2655). He is not expected in Australia in time for the reunion. Apparently Rod Watts made contact earlier this year but nothing came after that."

Late breaking news: The above e-mail address (robert@ayresrok.com) does not work...

Brian Hendy has informed me that he unfortunately can't make ***THE EVENT*** because he'll be on some yacht between somewhere and somewhere but that anyone up Noosa way is more than welcome to drop in for a yak (139 Grandview Drive, Coolum Beach Qld 07-5473 9761 bhendy@powerup.com.au