Thursday, 22 April 2010

The Internet went down in the middle

of yesterday afternoon - and, naturally, in the middle of a discussion with someone in Singapore.
My father's personal alarm also sounded and a check showed that the telephone was not working.
Fortunately for us it was nothing serious. The "Big Pond" van was parked in the street and the man poking around in the hole in the ground assured us he was 'doing some maintenance'. It would have been nice if they had advised us of this in advance. I could have stayed at the library and used a computer terminal there to finish a piece of work for someone.
Instead I went and sorted out the confusion for another elderly neighbour. She had become very agitated because her personal alarm was also going and she, naturally, could not telephone to say that she was all right and did not anyone to attend to her. I calmed her and, at her request, put her kettle on. I then returned and did the same for my father's afternoon cup of tea.
As I was unable to finish what I had been doing and did not want to start the next task immediately I took a few minutes out to look at something my father had been given to read earlier that day. It is a history (of sorts) of a small community we lived in for two years.
When we arrived in the place there were 19 houses. When we left there were 23 houses. The extra four houses were for the workers at the wheat silo. That was also built in our time there.
The houses were, of course, fibro-asbestos - like ours. The silo was rather more substantial.
The community was considered to be a considerable size. It was on the railway line to the West - or Western Australia. It had a two teacher school. My parents were the teachers.
In the middle of the book there is a chapter on the school and the surrounding schools. Back then there were a number of schools with only 7 or 8 children. Our school had two 'buses' - one was a VW "combi" van and the other an ancient Ford truck which had been converted to carry the children to and from outlying properties to school. They carried about 8 or 9 children each.
The school was considered "big" in local terms.
There is a photograph of my father and the senior class in the book. When he came in for his cup of tea I showed him. I could remember most of the names. He could remember most of them too. Neither of us have seen any of the children since we left there. The person who passed the book to my father is someone who lived in the district at the time. He did not have children at the school then. He knows only a little of what has happened to them. My father is not really that interested in what has happened to them now. Most of them would be grandparents. They were just children then. They are still children to him.
I spent two years of my life growing up with those children, so did my siblings. Like my father we had no contact with them once we left the district. In reality we had nothing in common with them. Some of them never went beyond doing year 8 by correspondence lessons which my father supervised. One father did not even want his son to do that. The boys would be absent at harvest time - and sometimes the girls would be too. Most of them had never been to the city. Several had not even travelled to either of the two townships on the coast.
I wonder what it would have been like for them if there had been access to the Internet that far back?

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