25 years on – school reunion

The weather on Friday night wasn’t favourable, but I think we all had a good time at the 25th school reunion in any case.

Amusingly, it clashed with the year 9+10 social in the main building. When I first arrived (wearing a black suit) I was asked if I was with Security.

Melbourne High School in the rain

It was a mixed group of 25 years/1988 and 20 years/1993. I assume the Old Boys Association reckoned that was the best way to make it viable to run it. About fifty of each group showed up.

Things I learnt on the night:

Melbourne High SchoolI seem to have forgotten the words of the second verses of the school song Honour The Work, as well as Forty Years On and Gaudeamus Igitur

Apparently of the staff at the school in 1988, a staggering 15 are still teaching there 25 years later, including my year 12 maths teacher Mr Ganella, who was there for the reunion. He doesn’t look a day older, except his hair’s a bit greyer.

Likewise, as on previous occasions, many of my classmates looked the same… some a little greyer, rounder.

At least one hadn’t put his boys up for Melbourne High, in part because of the travel distance involved from Eltham (fair enough — when I was there, some students travelled from as far away as Mount Eliza, Launching Place and Gisborne) and because his friends had been scattered around Melbourne (perhaps I was lucky, as many of my friends were in the inner-southeast).

Some have been through some big challenges in their lives, but all those who came seem to have got through it okay with an optimistic viewpoint, and many seem to be living the dream — with things exactly how they want them.

I don’t recall looking at the 1988 honour board before, but I note a high proportion of people from my original year 9 (1985) class, which is kind of nice.

The most well-known last day prank in 1988 was a (lewd in parts) spoof of the school newsletter which was distributed to all year 12 classes. I finally discovered the anonymous students behind it.

A higher-profile incident was this one at Box Hill station, which other students volunteered to clean up — the description of the incident from the stationmaster is particularly amusing — and you can see from the uniform why we called them gumbies:

Finally, pranks obviously still take place… in one of the hallways of a newer building, I found this picture, supposedly of distinguished old boy Michael Gudinski:

Distinguished Old Boy: Michael Gudinski?

Before Facebook and Twitter, we did analogue social networking with paper and pen

Tonight I’m going to a school reunion. Almost unbelievably, it’s 25 years since year 12 in 1988.

To mark this occasion I’ve dug out something even older than that.

Once upon a time, before Facebook and Twitter, we couldn’t write on each others’ Walls or send a Tweet. On occasion in class, we’d pass a piece of paper around instead and write notes on it.

Here is one that survived, from July 1986.

Analogue Facebook wall, from a class in July 1986

As you can see, the chatter amongst myself and my friends at aged 15 was pretty moronic — a mix of tech talk (if you think the Mac/PC/Linux debate is heated, that was nothing on Commodore/Spectrum/Amstrad), Monty Python quotes and personal insults.

I don’t know if any of the other participants in this page of silliness are around and reading my blog… Most are referred to by initials only, so if they wish they can out themselves if they do happen to see this.

No old school tie for me – how about old school cuff links instead?

I’m not a great cuff link wearer, but recently I inadvertently bought a shirt that needs them, and I couldn’t find any at home.

I noticed the school Old Boys association sells them, so (I guess to mark 25 years since I did VCE — gulp) I bought some.

Melbourne High School Old Boys Association cufflink

I don’t mind these… they aren’t too obvious when seen from a normal distance. I’m glad I got the plain pewter design though, not the coloured enamel ones… for an old boy design, I think I prefer it to be subtle rather than SHOUTY.

I don’t wear ties anymore. One commenter on a previous post about shirts noted the idea of collecting differing cuff links instead of ties. I’m not sure I’d go down that path, but I would consider getting a few more of different designs.

PS. Any other MHS ’88 people reading, apparently the 25th anniversary dinner is on 31st of May. Hope to see you there!

Happy Australia Day (and make sure you have a ticket)

Yarra Trams: Australia Day 2012

The words on the left are from I Am Australian, by Bruce Woodley:

We are one, but we are many
And from all the lands on earth we come
We share a dream, and sing with one voice:
I am, you are, we are Australian

Wikipedia says the song was written in 1987. I’m pretty sure either that year or the year after, we sung it at Speech Night at Melbourne High School. (Woodley, like his fellow seekers Athol Guy and Keith Potger, went to Melbourne High.)

Twentieth reunion

Friday night’s 20 year school reunion had all the standard components: old mates chatting; drinking; fairly raucous singing old the school song; a meal; more drinking; a few speeches, that kind of thing.

And a school tour. If my kids had been there, I’m sure they would have thought it was very Harry Potter, especially the school tower, which now contains the school’s archive, with many and varied items of interest. The library is now the staff room. The computer room is now the geography department. The hall has barely changed — even some of the seats are the same.

Colin, the President of the Old Boys Association is an ex-teacher at the school, and this made for some amusement, as he attempted with his best stern teacher’s tone to get people to quieten down during the speeches.

A number of blokes I knew well at high school but whom hadn’t been in touch over the years (including the previous reunions) showed up, which was great. Most looked similar to how they had done years ago. Many now have families and kids.

John and Tristan decided that Essendon coach Matthew Knights was the most prominent old boy of our year, though he didn’t attend on the night.

Some noted my efforts, which was nice. And Andrew, who I had a lot of laughs with in years 9 and 10, surprised me by saying how much he enjoyed the How To Destroy Your VCR web pages.

One of the current assistant principals spoke of the current school’s battle — to prevent a 25 storey building going up behind the historic 1927 building, spoiling the vista. Most of us were roused up enough about this to give money on the night to the fighting fund.

Was a great night. To be followed up with a flurry of emails and Facebook additions, no doubt.