In around 1986 I was accepted into the WA College of Advanced Education (now called Edith Cowan University) to undertake a Diploma in Arts with two majors – Aboriginal and Intercultural Studies and English Literature. There were no fees at the time except for purchasing my text books. I had turned thirty, had three young sons to look after and the amazing opportunity to study. It was only part-time so I needed child-care for two lectures a week. The childcare was subsidized and was affordable.
I clearly remember the excitement and gratefulness I felt for this opportunity. Life was good :-). I had done ok at school but I left early at 17 and I found work, got married at 18 years and then had my three sons in my twenties. My marriage broke up in 1985 when I was 30 and my world was turned upside down.
In the last year of my marriage I did some correspondence studies to gain access to Uni. I worked with Indigenous women in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, teaching them English and we
had no resources and so had to develop our own. This is what sparked my interest in further study.
I can’t explain the exhilaration I felt at such an opportunity being available to me. I loved everything I learnt and couldn’t get enough of it. I clearly remember one day as I was walking back to my car (a HR Holden station wagon over 20 years old at the time) I was thinking just how fortunate I was to have this opportunity.
This past week I revisited the University for a couple of days as a part-time staff member. Who would have thought my life would have turned out like it did. I wanted to share with the people I met but there was no way to explain all the changes over the past 25 years. I was one of the first students in the first classrooms that were built there. Now it is like a metropolis with thousands of students and acres of buildings. It was alive and exciting however the contrast to 1985 was lost on everyone but me.
This caused me to reflect how our memories are very much our own. We hold a picture and a feeling inside that is unique to us at that place and time. I started to understand my parents generation and their talk of the past and how we cannot imagine what it was like. Our time on Earth is but a blink of an eye in the history of the world but it is a very special time for each one of us.
cheers for now