I repeated Kindergarten three times.

1959.5 I,Tamworth CofEkindergarten

I commenced school very early in life. At three my parents enrolled me at Tamworth Church of England Girls’ School in Kindergarten. As my mother was getting bored at home and because the school required a latin teacher for their higher classes  a solution to my child care had to be found. Hence my enrolment. I of course do not remember this but gain an insight into what I was like at this age from the three report cards I obtained whilst there. One general comment  was “Irene has fitted in very well to our kindergarten group and is interested and co-operates well in all our activities. She is not very voluble yet but apparently absorbs much of what she hears. Has an independent spirit and a lovable personality.” 

1960.1 Irene 4thbirthday

After a year my family moved to Casino where I attended another kindergarten. Although it was called kindergarten, these days it would be called a pre-school. Although this was my second kindergarten it was my first age-appropriate one. Mrs McDougal was the principal and only teacher. Although her voice boomed like a sergeant-major, she was always smiling, and her bosom wobbled like jelly when she laughed. She was old and lined like my grandmother. She would gather her children to her, enveloping us in her embrace whilst she read us stories. We also played games, did craft work and music. I went home one afternoon and ran around in circles with my arms outstretched. My mother asked me what I was doing and I replied “I’m playing hocker hen hips.” This had my parents baffled for some time until they realised that I was playing Focker Friendships: the first of these planes having flown into Casino airport days before.

1961.1 Irene starts school

Kindergarten at Casino Public School was my third kindergarten and my first experience of falling in love and having an idol. I idolised my teacher Miss Rogers. She was young, pretty and had really soft, silken skin. Her musical voice was mesmerising and I hung on her every word. We all vied for individual attention and tried to become the teacher’s pet. At the end of the year it was devastating to learn that she would not be returning as, she was marrying a man in Sydney and would move and live with him there. I was lucky however, as we were in Sydney on holidays and my parents took me to the church so I could see her as a bride. She looked even more beautiful.

I also had my first boyfriend in kindergarten. Raymond Fardon. He asked me to marry him and as I was giving this serious consideration I took him home to meet my parents. My Mother had no time for this nonsense and quickly showed him the door. It was many, many years before I again took a boyfriend home. I had learnt my lesson well: Raymond no longer spoke to me and took up with another girl, whose parents were no doubt more accommodating.

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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