To Be With You – Mr Big

Down South yesterday for the quarterly hair cut and colour, the drive from Austinmer to Shellharbour, the perfect amount of time for a nostalgic post to take shape.

The South Coast, or ‘ Coal Coast’ as it is now referred to by the bearded and the hip, was in fine form yesterday, the sun shone, the ocean glistened blue and the Illawarra escarpment, bursting with an autumnal glow.

I was listening to the Coal Coasts band of choice , ‘Shinging Bird – Black Opal’ . I had down right refused to take the 45 minute drive without there cd and song six and seven were on repeat. But in between the repetition, my mind drifted to a moment in time, some seven years earlier when I received an out of the blue phone call.

It was the beginning of 2010. I was not in a particularly happy place. When consumed by sadness, such was the tendency to shut people out, decline invitations in favour of my own company.

That was how I came to decline the invitation of my life long friend, one of my most supportive allies – Mim – and her Hen’s weekend. I just could not face it. I was an anomaly in guest list – 6 years older than most of the girls and not part of her close-knit group of school mates. But like all on the guest list, I loved and admired the hen. Reason enough to go?

The invitation was declined and I busied myself with the blues.

The phone rang.

Was it Friday or Saturday night?

The fact that I answered it took even me by surprise as often when faced an inner battle with black, the phone rings out, goes to voice mail.

‘ Hello’

Laughter, lots of it can be heard down the phone.

‘ Kate, I had to call you’

It is Mim.

‘ We are playing the first pop song YOU introduced me to – I had to call you’

Coming down the phone line is the tune ‘ To Be With You ‘ by Mr Big – a sure-fire hit from the mid 1990’s.

‘ Kate, are you there?’

I am in shock, had I know idea I had this kind of influence in Mim’s musical education – if I had known, perhaps I would have introduced her to David Bowie, a Whitney Houston classic, Michael Jackson – Mr Big???

‘ I love this song because it makes me think of you’

I don’t remember what I said to Mim, I just recall the joy in her voice,  the laughter of the group of girls in the background, singing at the top of their lungs ‘ I’m the one who wants to be – with – you’

Mim’s call induces intense feelings of guilt – I should be there, celebrating in person instead of home alone on the couch with Flora. It was as if the call snapped my out of my sadness, if only temporarily, to remind me that I did matter to people, people like Mim.

The phone conversation ended – a champagne bottle had popped in the background and I had encouraged Mim, who does not drink, to go and at least have a sip for me.

That conversation was 7 years ago, I have never forgotten it. That bolt from the blue, totally unexpected, shaking me out of my head, and piercing my heart. Whilst it did induce guilt, the overarching feeling it left me with was one of connection. It has never left.

I have no idea why this story surfaced yesterday, it took even me by surprise. The Coal Coast has a way of doing that I guess, the more time I spend South of Sydney, the more I find myself reflecting on my past in order to make sense of it all. Write it down, get it out there, move forward.

Note this Coal Coast chick is currently answering the phone, accepting social invitations and being much more careful on my musical influence on the young.

Lest We Forget

Four years ago, I heard for the first time the story below, as told by my Grandfather, one of his experiences of World War 2. It was a story he would often revert to until his death in February 2015. In his final years he became very teary, almost childlike and he became stuck on certain themes…the war was one of them.

Both my Nan and Grandfather have now passed on but one of my proudest Anzac Day memories was accompanying my Nan along George Street in the March in 2007. I held back tears – Nan was legally blind and managing crippling pain for a bone disease with endone, yet one foot in front of the other – we marched in time, hand in hand, bag pipe music serenading us down the street. So proud.

And my Grandfather, the private man, who held so much in, told me the story below on the 25th April, 2013.

 

Catch Up With A Mate

 

My Grandparents- Bruce and Joan Gibson- True Anzacs xx

My Grandparents- True Anzacs

Anzac Day, 25th of April, 2013

My Grandfather told me a story about his war-time experience that I hazard a guess he had never told anyone. It made for a very special day, I felt honoured and privileged that he opened up to me and told me a tale that for 68 years had never had an audience….

‘ His name was Alton Neil Robinson….but we all called him Bill. He was a few years older than me at school and very intelligent. He completed his leaving certificate at Mudgee High School ( 5 years of High School). I only did three years of secondary school’

‘ In Bills civilian life, he was a very talented cyclist. He also had a passion for languages’

‘ How many languages did he know?’ I asked but I did not…

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Shaping Young Lives into ‘ Perfect Storms’

Any one who knows me is aware of my vivid imagination – I have a tendency to run off with it at times. Yesterday was no exception.

The end of another student internship program. Farewelling bright, bubbly twenty somethings, with hopes, dreams and burning desires to bring about change in their chosen professions.

I listened to Kelly Clarkson’s song ‘ Invincible’ on repeat as I churned through the days administration tasks. It was a busy but in between the emails, phone calls and filing I chatted to students as they submitted their internship time sheets, dropped of bags for storage, prepared for final exams.

Beat down on me, beat down like a waterfall cause I can take on so much more than I had ever dreamed

The noticeable shift in the student interns demeanour – a quiet confidence oozing from every pore, a new found belief and mastery of their unique skill sets, their gifts.  

I was hiding from the world, I felt so afraid I felt so unsure. Now I am invincible , I’m the perfect storm.  

The students recounting the challenges they had faced in the workplace and how they had overcome them. How the highs and lows had shaped them and provided moments of clarity.

Cause it’s being weak then strong. And the truth I’ve found, I have courage now, gonna shout it out. 

Teacher I feel the dots connecting

The mentors who had guided them for 12 weeks, the connections they had built and the skills honed. Many students told me of job offers, remote work projects they would continue upon returning home. I wanted to hug one student whose entire career path has shifted gears, who detailed plans to keep the momentum going upon returning home.

Yesterday was a most rewarding day. As with my imagination, I have glossed over the prickly bits of the 12 week program…. of course they were there. 

But I focused on the ‘ perfect storms’ I helped to shape –  future disruptors of industry, innovators and change agents. Students whose self belief has been injected with invincibility magic dust.

10 years ago….

Catch Up With A Mate

10 years ago I wrote a short story titled ‘ The Gift’

It is a story that still resonates. And today is a good as any day to repost it on Catch up with a Mate.

And Five years ago I posted in on my blog

I wrote it about a person I knew at the time, who I have since lost contact with, writing a fictional story about the situation was my way of coping…. a way of expressing my anger, sadness, helplessness and disbelief that someone could live such a constricted and constrained manner.

I was merely a bystander, looking on, I could not say or do anything as this person would not have taken too kindly to any suggestion that they might want to stop for a minute,  slow down and take a few deep breaths…simple steps which would have provided the opportunity to ponder whether this…

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Anne of Green Gables

Yesterday when I was having lunch it dawned on me that I am what you call a passionate person.

I asked the question of the group who w dining at a local Ultimo Cafe, what movie defined their childhood. Given that one of the lunch guests was mid seventies, his answer was a book….but it took much prompting to get that from him.

Others had delayed responses, little excitement in their voice and even fewer hand gestures. Another factor might have been jet lag, two of the party having taken international flights a couple of weeks back…..

But really, when it boiled down to it….in my opinion, this kind of question allows a passionate person to go to town, to reminisce and indulge in a time gone by, and recount how said movie changed the course of ones life.

The movie I offered up was ‘ Anne of Green Gables’

The title alone should send shivers down a passionate person’s spine, could very well cause water to well in eyes, bring on contagious smiling, bouts of blushing,girlish giggles.

How many times did I watch this film at a 10 year old? Countless.

Why did I love Anne, the red-haired beauty from Prince Edward Island, Canada? Because she was bold, brave, lived in her head and loved with her whole heart.

This movie shaped me as a young girl, it was the very first film I recall sobbing uncontrollably to when kind-hearted Matthew, Anne’s adoptive Father, passed away. I think I hid my tears well, as no one in my family came near me, but I cried and cried – to the point where I could not even understand my sadness.

Today, I have come to understand why this on screen death deeply affected me – Matthew was a quiet, unassuming man, second fiddle to Marilla,  Anne’s formidable adoptive Mother. Marilla was the disciplinary and Matthew was advised ‘ not to put his oar in’ when it came to child rearing.

So he stayed in the background, but that was where he was most comfortable and could do the most good. He loved Anne, it shone through all his actions, was evident in the very few words he spoke.

Besotted by her, whole heartedly captivated by her spirit and energy, it brought out the best in him too – he adored her, spoilt her, mostly with the gift any child most wants – love, but with the occasional material possessions too – a beautiful blue ball gown with ‘ puffed sleeves’ (20 pounds of brown sugar accompanied this dress purchase- having struggled to articulate the real reason behind his shopping expedition, sugar preceeded dress sale)

In many ways Matthew was, and very much is, a version of my own Father.

My Father’s actions have always spoken louder than words – and his love for me is on display in everything he has ever done and continues to do, hopefully for many years to come.

This is but one reason I identify with this movie so strongly, so passionately, with tear filled eyes and runny nose. I saw myself and those I hold dear to me in the characters so beautifully acted out in the 1985 Canadian telemovie.

Oh, there is so much more I could say….this movie prompted a road trip to Prince Edward Island when I found myself in Canada is 2002, on the search for my own personal Gilbert with childhood friend Leonie and her P.E.I beau, Darin. The bouts of melancholy the film induced if watched on repeat in my teens….My love for the country Canada that runs oh so deep…..

But as a passionate person you have to learn to tell stories in short burst.

Sensing my enthusiasm for Anne of Green Gables was a little too much for my lunch guests I keep the account to under 2 minutes and then new that the rest of the tale was for my blog post.

Lucky readers….

To Be Continued.

Inner City Living

Today I feel a little more in love with Sydney.

Having recently moved, to what may or may not be my final resting place in the big smoke, I am starting to adjust to my new surrounds.

In all my time as a renter in the city I have always lived in houses, in quiet residential areas with great access to the CBD, always had a garden of sorts, ample street parking for a car and the ability to be beach side in under 20 minutes ( if you left the house at 7am)

It is new for me in live in an apartment, inner city living, constant traffic. I can no longer walk out my front door and feel the earth beneath my feet. Now I walk out the front door, into a lift, ascending four floors before I can be truly grounded.

And within the four walls of my apartment, my life is compact. Everything is shiny and new. The odds and ends that survived the constant move – unpack – eviction – repack – relocate cycle that was my life for 12 years, did not cut the mustard upon unpacking THIS time.

A total overhaul, long over due, much longed for.

It has not been love at first sight by any means, but every time I discover a new convenience that is inner city apartment living, I thank my lucky star that I took this leap of faith back in 2014 and entered the property market.

So why all the gushing today? I discovered the 355 bus, which departs a mere 5 minutes walk from my building, and travels from East to Inner West – joining my favourite parts of the City of Sydney.

I drank an almond piccolo in Eskineville, I shopped at my favourite book store and health food shop on King Street, Newtown. I indulged in some people watching and window shopping, all the while reminiscing about my life as a renter in the part of the city. Fond memories.

So life as an inner city apartment dweller….so far so good.

Each day it gets a little better, deep breathing helps. Change is good, and I am happy with the direction I am headed. This time on foot,public transport, Uber.

The car was sold last year…inner city apartment living does not come with a car space.

But that is just how I like it!!

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