|Click on an image for a larger view|
Some fourty years after the five years spent at NSBHS brings back a variety of recollections. Most memorable were the orange/tomato/scraps launcher developed using the concrete lawn roller and, utilising important concepts learnt in physics of the force generated by a rolling falling concrete object on a sea saw arrangement, which could deliver its load all the way over the Great Hall into the main quadrangle, the beauty of the fall of the confetti from the first floor onto the main assembly (and having to pick each piece up when caught), the fall of the back wall of Captain Cooks cottage after the nails had been carefully eased out, smoke bombs, the strangling of the infernal hooter, and great comradeship with friends and partners in crime.
Some teaching principles were also memorable, namely French teachers with big boobs and low cut dresses leaning forward to make a point (and creating other points in innocent teenagers in the room), Music teachers at pains to emphasise the difference between a crochet and a quaver (and totally destroying any appreciation of music for years), German teachers who disciplined by grabbing hold of your hair and shaking you about (always remember the Brylcream before mucking up), Maths teachers who played chess all night and slept through class with their head in the chalk box, Physics teachers who held their pants up with a piece of rope, Smythes cribs to get through that terrible Shakespear, discipline with a cane - "it is only short but it will sting" and Carneige's six of the best - boy did they sting! In spite of all this we came through and moved on.
The first year in University was spent initially in films, debating, saving Aboriginal children in Redfern, rolling jaffas down the concrete stairs of Chemistry, pub crawls, anything but study, till the half yearly results came in - my best 2% in Chemistry! Then followed a more conventional course of study leading onto Graduation, Internship, Residency, and Registrar days at Royal North Shore Hospital. Those hospital days are a bit of a blurr with below poverty wages, long working hours, long complicated nights at the Mess (Resident's watering hole), Mess dinners, amazingly dirty games of Rugby against other Hospitals, drunken swimming at the Nurses Swimming carnival, scaling the downpipe to the Nurses quarters, and a bit of study. Renal Medicine and the potential of developments in dialysis and kidney transplantation led to a move to the then great Sydney Hospital for three years and then onto Denver, Colorado, USA for another three (I am a slow learner). Denver was notorious for the spectacular Rocky Mountains, fantastic scenery and great skiing.
I drifted into an academic career in the USA but decided to return to Australia to a request to establish the Renal Service at Royal North Shore Hospital. Initially this was as a salaried Staff Specialist but after a few years I moved to a part time salaried position, to run the service, and part time private practice, to allow me to look after patients properly. My work is now largely in the area of early detection and early treatment of kidney disease and prevention of progressive kidney disease. In my early years at RNSH I had a whole bunch of Administrative duties and prolonged boring frustrating meetings with Adminisrators (which is like trying to have a meaningful relationship with a hooker) but now I spend my extra carricular activities writing, giving lectures to GPs and patient groups, saying NO to Administrators, doing building renovations, working on photography and spending time with my children. I gave up on golf a long time ago as I realised some things were not meant to be.
I have been blessed with four delightful "children" aged from 21 to 29 years - a primary teacher, a nurse, a florist and practice manager, and an IT specialist (who will probably earn more than any of us in his first year out). It has been a delight to see all four children mature into the beautiful people they have become. Sadly my marriage didn't last after all the years of long hours.
I thank all those who have worked so hard to ensure the success of the coming reunion and for the relentless persuit of some, like myself, who were hard to find. The original invitations went to my academic University e-mail address which I have never opened. I hate to think how stuffed full of crap it must be.
I look forward to renewing old acquaintences.