Monday, 15 May 2006
Under the Mountain
Brrrrrrrrrr - we have launched into winter in the last couple of days!!! Why would you want to live in Stratford?! Even after living most of my life here i can still look at this mountain & feel the pull - explain? can't really - but if u have lived here u probably know what i mean :-)
Looking at the mountain today & reading Kelvin's SPS newletter with a letter from an ex-pupil really stirs up memories of growing up under the mountain. I am looking forward to the Stratford Primary School Jubilee next year & catching up with some very old friends...
Dominic Sheehan in "Finding Home" captures the feelings of growing up in Stratford so well - this is a great book - look for it in your school library - if it's not there - get it!
"Lumley was the sort of town that was not so small that everyone knew everybody else, but small enough that most people knew a little bit of everything that happened....
Lumley was a town large enough for two primary schools as well as the high school. It had ten pages in the district phone book, a New World supermarket, two roundabouts, a railway overbridge and a gardening shop with its own mini-greenhouse in the rear and a real full-sized wheelbarrow stuck on the facade. It had its own public library, located at the end of a long dark corridor that was cold and echoey and lined with pictures of the city fathers. The library also contained Lumley's only elevator.
It was a town big enough for a municipal swimming pool. And a picture theatre with a winding staircase and red velvet curtains that hung so thick and heavy you wondered how they managed to stay on the rails. In George Mayle Park there was a band rotunda which at Christmas time would be decorated around the edges with dozens of lights. The park was named after a lieutenant colonel from Lumley killed at Gallipoli. A stone memorial arch at the park's entrance commemorated his sacrifice.
In the centre of town was a square-faced clock, which kept perfect time. It was part of the local post office, the largest building in Lumley, which was sided with shiny aluminium and had a flagpole directly outside, placed in the middle of the footpath. No one knew why the builders put a flagpole in everyone's way, but it was such a part of the town that no one seemed to care, and anyway, once you knew it was there you just walked around it.
Lumley was tucked under the shadow of the mountain. No matter where you went in the town, if you looked up, the mountain was there, watching over your shoulder. Around the base of the mountain was a circle of native bush and even in summer the the mountain's peak was capped with a dusting of snow which thickened and spread as winter came. It also had a habit of being shy and more often than not it would play beek-a-boo behind a screen of mist and clouds. Being around the mountain all the time, you tended to forget it was there. But you could always sense its looming presence.
That was the town that came out to greet us as we walked through its wide streets on the first morning of school. The people and the places and the mountain... "