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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

memories from a time gone by

I have recently caught up with a few people from my primary school through the wonderful world of face book.I resisted joining the throng for quite some time mainly due to lack of time and inpatients on my behalf.

I finally did bite the bullet and since joining last year or maybe the year before I have found myself in a routine that some of you may recognise, check emails, check face book check face book check face check face book.

So this leads me to my original point, of catching up with some old friends whom I went to a lovely school located in O.B. Flat all those years ago.

Where is O B Flat you might ask?

O.B. Flat is a little place outside of MT Gambier, South Australia.
The school is situated on a corner block with nothing but paddocks surrounding it and the old church next door.

When I first started going there, the school consisted of one class room that held all of the twenty students.
Thinking back, it was a fairly unusual experience to be in the same class as your sister who is actually two and half years older than you.

There was one teacher who taught all levels from reception (in Victorian terms prep) to grade seven.

Within the school grounds you would find the old school house which lent itself to being our library, teachers aids office and the kitchen which had varying uses from staff room, to where our cooking classes were held.
There was also a spare room which was where you went if you had music lesson's.

I would like to just take a moment to reflect on what it would have been like for the teachers aid who's office was situated down the hall from kids learning to play the violin, trumpet and the piano. No wonder she always seemed a bit grumpy.

There was one oval down the back which was lined with pine tree's along the far edge and a white picket fence dividing it from the main body of the school.
The pine trees were where many games of tree chasey were played.
You had to be careful not to fall, the barbed wire fence located under the trees posed a bit of a hazard.
As with many school ovals there were many footy matches played as well as tiggy but if a game of British bulldog was started the whole school would have to play, as you would guessed it just wouldn't work otherwise.

The toilets were an old corrugated and Mt Gambier stone building which were situated near the one and only netball court, the netball courts was also used for playing four squares,eight square or as many squares as needed,all depending on who wanted to join in at the time, there was hopscotch,and then the whole court could transfer into a roller skating rink, when that was the cool thing to do.

There was the old fort which comprised of a concrete tunnel leading up to the treated pine fort.
(Those were the days when playing on timber, that was most likely carcinogenic was deemed normal practice.)
The old fort was to be later out done by the new playground near the oval which was happily constructed on one of the many family working bees, where the dads put their hearts and soles into making what seemed the best playground ever was.

Pie and pastie day on a Monday and hot dog day on a Wednesday were a highlight,our little school did not have a canteen to a speak of, so these lunches were organised in the school house kitchen.
Orders were placed on our order sheet, which were produced by the teachers aid with the use of a coping machine in the hallway,I am not sure what it was called but it had a big drum with purple ink on it and you would turn the handle which rotated the drum and it would copy the work sheet,I vividly remember the smell of the paper when it came out.
Probably also carcinogenic, might explain my mental attitude at times.

You could have a hot dog in bread that was wrapped in wax paper and the paper would have advertisements of local business printed on the outside.
You could choose between chips or a cake (which were lovingly made by the mums of the school)if i remember rightly the cakes were five cents.

Pie and Pastie day was very similar except for your choice of mains.
What a treat for a child, that usually got sent to school with a round of sandwiches cut into triangles and a piece of fruit.

Excitement always grew leading up to our annual sports day where we would compete against the surrounding schools of the area, at the local oval in the Mt Gambier town ship.
Many hours were spent practicing for this event, there was tunnel ball, accuracy throw, sprints, long distance,high jump just to name a few.

All the schools would congregate at a park in the middle of town and line up ready to march down the main street, the street would be lined with all the parents, siblings and locals cheering us all on.

During the march O.B Flat had the greatest of opportunity's, we were the band, and to say we practiced, we practised our little hearts out,up and down the road, near the school left, left, left, right, left playing our instruments with much gusto, even if it was the triangle.

If you were lucky enough to be nominated to play the kettle drum or hold the school banner you knew you had made it in the world of O.B. Flat school ranking.
I had the great pleasure of doing both at different times but do not let me misguide you I had my fair share of the triangle, the stick with bottle tops on it and even the wooden tapping sticks.

The Christmas concert was one of the biggest highlights, It would be held at the local hall, we had to walk to the hall for final practices or if you were lucky enough to have your bike you could ride.

The stage was lucky enough to be the size a lounge room of a suburban flat, it had only one entry and no curtains that I can recall.
To get from the stage to the dressing room, you had to navigate your way around the out side of the building, to the back of the hall, and hope you missed all the land mines in the shape of cow patties along the way.

There would be a play from each grade, piano recitals, usually a dance performed by the girls who did calisthenics and if we were lucky the parents would put on their own play. Snow white and the seven dwarfs was one of the funniest shows I remember seeing.
Never knew the parents tummies could make such funny dwarf faces.

I always remember my last school concert, mainly due to the fact I was one of four girls in the school, two girls in grade 4 one in grade six and myself in grade seven, we featured quite a lot in the end of year concert, don't know why the boys were adverse to playing a female role.

I have many more memories of that little school on the corner next to the church and surrounded by paddocks but I will leave them for another time.

I hope this have given you a lovely insight to many years of my life that I am very fond of and memories of times gone by, with people I still hold dear, even though I may not have seen them in thirty years.

Best wishes and happy memories


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