Mood Swings, Errant Incisors & The Jody Keen Memorial Trophy (31 August-6 September)

Monday 31/8/87

Well it’s 10:30: I have only ½ my english assignment done (if I don’t hand it in before school tomorrow I get 0/20) and I have ASAT (Australian Scholastic Aptitude test) tomorrow, which I haven’t even looked at the booklet, for. [See this post from a fortnight ago if you want a little more detail about the ASAT] Great, huh? I really felt conscious today about my schoolwork .. I’m going to work harder to get everything right for my exams – maths, chem & biol. next week. [Yeah yeah, heard it all before…] MUST do well. Got my art mark Got 16/20- I was disappointed: a few people got 20’s -about 5. But I made her [my teacher] ‘up’ my mark by one, so I’m a V.H now, at least. [Well …that’s interesting. I don’t remember that, and can’t believe I was that …”assertive”. Some assertiveness in other areas of my life would’ve been helpful…] God, I’m tired & I know I’ll stuff up the ASAT tests. SHIT. I won’t even get my english assignment done. God help me. I barely talked to Mark at all today. He’s really getting me down – he is so bored with me & that really does nothing for my ego. A Life in Words[And I was way too young to realise that Ego IS the problem…] Wrote a letter – not sure if I’ll send it yet. I’ll get Fi to read over it & tell me if it’d make him react wrongly (ie: MAD) [LOL, a ‘wrong reaction’?!] mucked around in biol. though I actually was a bit more bold & felt really relaxed around him. could tell he was still bored with me tho’. Please change back Mark – be romantic again. [Wanting or expecting someone (anyone!) to Change = nothing but Pain]

Tuesday 1/9/87

I arrived later than usual trying to get my english done (I didn’t) went up to do ASAT tests . . were hard, generally, although some parts were easier than others. . at little lunch I left straight away: finished my assignment at home then went to see the orthopaedic surgeon (Dr Bottoms) he talked a lot went in late, of course; came out around 1:35. . […and the result was? I can’t recall, or even guess, whether this appointment was actually for my personal ‘benefit’ or related to the building of my Third Party compensation claim from the bus accident…] got back to school near start of 6th period. Boring in art; did little in chemistry (Cameron distracting me a lot) after school, I went up to talk to Mark, for the first time of the day: “What’s wrong?” I said cheerfully. No answer “OK” I said & sat next to him. He said “Don’t ever say that to me again.” I was just shocked. “What?” “What’s wrong?” I sat really bewildered & depressed & upset – I moved over to Fi & tears sprang up. What the fuck had I done wrong? I was very upset. At home rang Fi – she said ring him – wasn’t home, so rang me back – seemed cheerful enough – said “I just hate people saying that – giving me sympathy when I don’t need or want it.” SHIT. OK. I fucking got the message. A Life in WordsWrote another letter -told him about them & I’ll let him read them tomorrow

Wednesday 2/9/87

Fucked up day. Pissed off cause stupid bitch wouldn’t let me go for my learners cos I only had I.D. no birth certificate. Then I went to courthouse to get it & found out I have to send away to Brisbane (will take ages) then I get home this arvy & mum finds out I’ve got it after all. & tonight I’m really shitty about my teeth The fucking gap is growing bigger, still. soon it’s going to be just the same as it was – fucking mile wide. [For those who haven’t been following my ‘story’, I’d grown up with an impressive sized gap between my teeth – as well as a decent overbite – which I hated (see my post Welcome to My Life for more detail & a picture) but had to wait until I was about fourteen to receive the quite complex & lengthy corrective (orthodontic) treatment I desperately desired. Once I was permitted to ditch the final piece of oral apparatus – my plate – I didn’t realise the stubborn gap would slowly, sneakily open up again. It certainly didn’t return to its original size, and I don’t recall being overly conscious of it, but years later I finally discovered the cause: my ‘frenum’ – the tissue connecting my top lip to my gum – was so thick and large that it forced my teeth to separate again. A Life in Words(My sister had the same problem: thanks for those genes, mum and/or dad!) Needless to say, my dentist at the time performed a ‘frenectomy’ (ASAP!) to remove the offending tissue and my incisors slowly shifted toward each other again. Yay!] ASAT finished thank god. Saw Mark’s photo’s from (before) the formal. He got my letters but hasn’t read them yet. Bet he did tonight & I’ll bet he’s shitty tomorrow or something. [That’s positive thinking!] He’ll probably say “stuff you bitch – I won’t go out with you anymore then.” PISS OFF. I’m in the worst mood. [No?!] He was rather nice today tho’. Made an effort, kind of (Are you sure you didn’t already read those letters??) Wierd. Hot weather – but still cool at nights & in early morning (to about 9:00) Don’t be angry Mark – I love you too much. [Illogical reasoning! The act of loving someone bears little influence on their moods.]

Thursday 3/9/87

Well we had a parade this morning – Mr McKenzie received a certificate for the crash (or something) [I can’t recall this, but I am certain it would have been for his amazing conduct, leadership & compassion during and after the bus accident] and, Mark seemed O.K. today. He gave me the formal photos from his dad’s camera. This arvy I got upset a bit because he resorted to the usual “I don’t like you & I’m never going to talk to you again…” routine I’m sick of it [again; you DO have a  choice…].. and I hate, detest hearing it from him. Jesus. My english exam I found pretty easy- I know I’ll pass, but don’t know how “well” I’ll do. My appointment with Ms Forbes [our school counsellor] was a waste: she was busy so I had to see that guy Mr Inskip & I forgot all my material anyway so it was a waste. […of time. And we know how much I hate ‘Waste’…] A Life in WordsI was rude, I think – it was so tired. Finally finished copying out M’s & C’s letters. [Mark gave me these to read the week before. I must’ve found them so entertaining that I wanted to make copies. Go back to Thursday’s entry in my previous post if you want to know a bit more about them.] It’s 10:37. I’m dead! Wonder if Mark’ll talk to me tomorrow. God that hurts. I’m so sorry I’m a sook.

Friday 4/9/87

A Life in Words
Jody at our leadership camp, just a few hours before the bus crash that took his life.

Well, we talked a bit, but after school we had a big talk. It lasted about 45 mins and, had I not been out picking Julia & Cherie up from the movies, and doing quick grocery shopping with mum, he would’ve rung & we would’ve talked more. He doesn’t know what to do about our relationship: he, oh, I don’t know (either does he) [hmmm, I’m not sure about that…] Boring day. My appointment was another waste of time today – Mr Inskip hopeless. Did QTAC forms this morning period one (the day’s timetable was totally rearranged) [The Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre (QTAC) is the organisation that manages student course applications for pretty much all tertiary education centres in the state. You can imagine it’d be a pretty complex task…] God I’m tired. We lost the Rugby Union Final. Brothers (Saints) defeated us 14-4 & took the (new) Jody Keen Memorial Trophy. [Jody being one of our fellows killed in the bus crash. I remember feeling a bit disappointed that our CHS union team failed to claim a trophy dedicated to one of its own students, in its premier year.] P.N. spent lunch CH M,M!!! Said Hi this arv. too! [Crush, much?] Need to get to sleep soon: mima & fi & I going to town tomorrow, then Mark’ll ring or visit (he left a message on machine tonite). We’ll do something tomorrow night (He & Keith are moving into David’s (Keith’s brother’s) house for 2 weeks while he’s away) → (has no phone on) we still need to talk a lot.

Saturday 5/9/87

I slept very badly last night (Waking frequently) Woke around 7:00 this morning unable to fall asleep again, I got up. Around 8:45 mima & fi picked me up- we went to Earlville first (PN not work.) then into town.. not really exciting, but a good way to start off the weekend; just wish I had money to buy some clothes. At home, did chem, as well as resting a bit. Mark & Keith came around 3:00, we went for a drive (hockey fields) took Glyn (B.) home & then me. Jo rang tonite, after Mark; they came around 8:30 & we went to the House on the Hill. EMPTY!! Glyn came down; she had to be home by 10:00- Mark drove her. (Played pretty cool music, towards 11:00) When he came back ($ drinks) sat in Smithy’s till 11:45. (Mark was being really nice – that stuff I said about romance & chivalry might’ve got thru’ to him, because he was so sweet .. and I laughed a lot- couldn’t help smiling – even tho’ we didn’t dance (much), it was probly one of the best nights, up there .. music & Mark – the way he was!) Picked Glyn up [continued next page:]

Sunday 6/9/87

→again and back at David’s, we tried (supposedly) to sleep, but mucked around. I could never get bored with the ‘foreplay’ Glyn left around 3:00 – came in, & let us know she was going (!!!) […hmmm…] Slept – so tired. I woke around 6:00. . couldn’t sleep again for a while (wanted M. to wake but he wouldn’t) so eventually I dozed off. around 9:00 we were both wide awake & mucking around again. Keith “chucked a fit” around 10:00 (“Get up – make a move”) A Lfe in WordsAfter one crumpet, they took me home, where I dozed & slept till about 2:00 . . Mark rang, mid afternoon – sweet! I was surprised he rang “for no reason” – just to talk. And that we did (not a long phone call- I don’t like long calls anymore after that arguement he had with his folks that time) so I did chem. before going to dad’s. [Aha… Father’s Day] We sat for ¾hr waiting before going home again (where I tried to do maths) He rang about 8:30- said he only just got home. Too bad – he’s coming ‘fore school 2morrow to get his prezzy. It’s almost 10:00 now, I must get some more sleep!!! I ♥ MARK.

A Break-Up Scare, Birthday Bashes & My Father’s Wedding (18-24 May)

Monday 18/5/87

A Life in Words
Hypnotist Martin St James, whom we were going to see on Friday night.

So much depends on tomorrow. So much. You see, I rang him tonight. Yes, I worked up the guts. .& he wasn’t happy at all… (Today at school he wasn’t avoiding me; he wasn’t talking, though. It appeared to me as if he wanted to talk, but couldn’t) Jemima went to the Cairns Library for the day. I was bored… after school we rode into town & got the Martin St. James [a world-renowned hypnotist] tickets. She came back to my place. we called Cameron. And Mark- but he wasn’t home – I did call back later tonight 7:45 abouts. We had a 1½ hour phonecall and we talked about almost everything This time we came so close to ending. If I hadn’t’ve rung him tonight, he would’ve given me til the weekend, then it would’ve been now, he’s made tomorrow the deciding factor… if we work tomorrow great. [What does that even mean, “if we work”? And why is tomorrow any more important than ‘Now’?] But if not… we’re finished. For good. Even our friendship. Oh, God give me the strength to make it work tomorrow. PLEASE HELP ME. I love him so much. [Good God. Why are YOU doing the ‘work’ Elissa? Is it really worth all this stress?!]

Tuesday 19/5/87

Well, it’s on again- for young & old (Ha, ha!) I was worried this morning – it appeared he wasn’t going to talk to me. So, at little lunch I took the plunge, & went up to him. During little lunch, double biology & ½ of big lunch we were very serious.. thinking, mostly ..sometimes asking questions & discussing our thoughts. He scared me.. he said “who’ll be the bad guy?” I thought shit, shit! but said “you, I guess”. [Of course..] He said “I don’t think we should go out anymore.” I said “Oh” & did nothing. He didn’t appear to be joking- not laughing or smiling.. then he did. “You’re not serious?” I said. “No!” he said. [Games, games, games…] I am so relieved! I am going  to attempt to make it different …. lasting & beautiful. I WILL. I am determined. [Ah, here’s he’s the Control Freak. It’s taken SO long to learn that nothing, and no one, can be controlled…] Did no HW today again. It’s getting cooler now God I’m tired. It’s 9:35. Good night!A Life in Words

Wednesday 20/5/87

Rang him at 7:30. He wasn’t too happy ;had just woken up! At school, he wouldn’t take it, [his birthday present] but I shoved it in his bag in bio when he was talking to Chris. Otherwise I barely saw him; he raced off at big lunch (to do his learners – yes, of course, he got it) & I only caught glimpses of him at aerobics. This arvy Mrs W. rang & invited me to dinner with them. I wasn’t sure whether Mark wanted me to go but mum coaxed me into it. Thank God Keith went too..Mark wasn’t at all happy & if Keith wasn’t there being a clown & breaking the ice it would’ve been terrible. I barely spoke a word! (Fi & Justine didn’t do aerobics today -slacko’s!) At lunchtime before catching the buses, Polly & Juliet & their lot were in our area…Nicole sat with Joannah & Tricia ..down the end. And when she went Tricia said “bye Nicole!” [paranoia plus: my two nemeses happen to be having a chat] Nicole’s been giving me dirty looks (according to [privacy omission]) Maybe they’re scheming together to get him away from me. (Joke) [Yeah, that’s an obvious conclusion. Pfft. Paranoia plus. And an attempt at deflecting my insecurity with the “(Joke)”] I joked to Fi & she reckons “Well they won’t” (get him that is) And I know it. SUFFER! He loves me!

Thursday 22/5/87

Barely talked to him at all. Didn’t think he was coming, but showed up in maths. Little lunch I didn’t talk & at big lunch I had to do my oral practise (it’s tomorrow & I don’t know anything – well, 2 out of my whole 8 lines!) with Donna, Bob & Gemila. A Life in WordsSo after art, I quickly said hi, then in library for english practised again. (Hopeless case!) Only a few silly, crazy) words after school ..mum drove us (we cleaned our teeth first) to the dentist. Mr. Fairweather filed back the chip in my tooth [yet another disfigurement courtesy of the bus accident] & otherwise, my teeth are perfect! [There’s one thing that I have somehow managed to uphold – not that my teeth are ‘perfect’ but all my dentists have applauded my ‘dental hygiene’.] Walked home (talked to Adrienne on the way!) Mima was going to Smithfield, Fi didn’t want to go, so Mark & I went late night (Sandra driving us) I got Julia’s card + present- a cute denim satchel, Fi’s card, Dad & Jenny’s wedding card (& I frigging forgot my hairspray) and a black shirt like the yellow one I bought for Mark, he payed $15 out of it..isn’t that gorgeous. [I probably wouldn’t use the word gorgeous. Maybe generous?] Of course! Can’t wait 4 tomorrow – Martin St. James & then little “party” at Fi’s Mark, [privacy omission] are going to come along too!! UNREAL!! cooler (slightly) weather  Frigging english oral. I’ll fail

Friday 23/5/87

A Life in Words
All dressed up for a hypnotic night with Martin St. James

FI’S BIRTHDAY Ready early; went by & picked my wallet up from Mark’s ..he was still in bed at 8:30! [That IS impressive for a school day…] Our english oral was a bloody scream! Mr Grossetti wants us to do it again Monday afternoon. [I’m gathering because it was such a success? I think I might have enjoyed Acting as a vocation, had I been driven to chase it. Mr G. was undoubtedly one of my favourite teachers, inspiring so much confidence in me; he had previously suggested I could be a impersonator too, because I ‘nailed’ an Irish accent during a class reading of Juno & the Paycock. Here’s the link to the entry mentioning that – see Friday 1 August.] Great. Bludge lesson otherwise- realised I have 2 assignments to do by next Friday. Bloody fantastic. Talked very little to Mark today, again.. at big lunch went downtown- [privacy omission] got passport photos for false I.D. (didn’t get that finished anyway) Was so excited about tonight.. Mark [privacy omission] are coming at home, after a visit from Beka (& tidy my bedroom) packed, got ready for Fi’s. Finished getting ready there. MARTIN ST. JAMES was so good so funny Julie H tried out, but didn’t work on her (we couldn’t make Fi) Crabbie was there too! After, mima, fi, geoff m, cameron v & I went to Yanks [the only “late night” coffee shop in the Cairns CBD at that time] ([privacy omission] were on bad terms then) Spent some time there then taxied to Cameron’s & he (in his sister’s car) drove Fi, mim & I home. We got out the Kahlua YUMMY! mima got sick; I got happy. [I’m thinkin’ “drunk-happy”] [privacy omission] came. But Mark didn’t. I was so disappointed & angry. Really depressed, so I ate nearly all the smarties [emotional eating] – & whinged., while [privacy omission] forgot their problems & Fi & Jason sat quietly joking etc. Finally around, I think, 3:30,→

Saturday 23/5/87

we went in [privacy omission]‘s car – Jas. Fi & I to Mark’s ([privacy omission] & Jason had tried twice to get Mark) but weren’t able to wake him or anything. So after a drive around Whitfield & Edge Hill, went back to Fi’s & I went to sleep, depressed. Woken around 9:00, left soon after. Really didn’t want to go to Port Douglas. I wasted morning time (not much of it) then packed before ringing Mark, around 12:00-12:30. Was on the phone for ages. I really didn’t want to hang up. I wanted to hear his voice – was so depressed that I didn’t get to see him this weekend. IT’S NOT FAIR! (He had been asleep – slept thru his alarm) I cried, I was so upset about having to go. Duffy came just after 2:00 Drive to Port was boring. [But Elissa, it’s so beautiful?] Coconut Groves o.k. joint. “Unpacked” & went to the shop (walked) Really boring. The ceremony was “short & sweet” – photographers (could be in the Cairns Times!) A Life in WordsAfter, watched TV (so boring!) Then attempted to ring Mark (6:30) “at Cameron’s”. There was no one at Cameron’s at all when I rang either so Mark’s at a party. I told him I’d ring. Oh I miss him! Dinner was long & spread out. [It’s called a reception, and it involves lots of talking, so it is by nature “long and spread out”…] Now am watching TV. Am so tired & bored (tired, more so) will probably watch TV all night (dozing now & then.)

Sunday 24/5/87

Fell asleep around 12:00. Woke 8:00. Shit! Carol B was leaving at 8:30! (Thought I missed her, so thought we’d get a lift with Vic M) leisurely ate brekky when Carole rushed in. We hurredly grabbed our gear, said goodbye to dad & left around 9:00. Home early .. did nothing all day, except plant my seeds for bio assignment Got fucking bloody Freddy. Ugh! Saw Justine for a few minutes. Pigged out after a visit to a take-away. Mum finished [painting] our rooms (& I just finished tidying up the mess) Looks excellent! All bright, clean, beautiful white. Around 4:00 (I think) : 3:30 or 3:15 (anyway:) mark rang; talked; he went to the Trinity Bay party (Belinda’s) Keith said (he arrived ½ way thru) mark was bored without me.  How flattering. [Flattering, but not necessarily true?] Anyway, finally got off the phone: got ready & went to Mark’s at 5:30. We went to his work. Watched videos .. didn’t do much. But on the way home we talked & kissed. Oh! That was good. I love kissing him!! I had asked him about where it was he had seen me before. [At some stage in the past he had mentioned he’d seen/noticed me before I had begun at Cairns High. Of course I was curious: how could I not have noticed him too?] He won’t tell me. He said I was with someone he was talking to. Where? When? He won’t tell me. Said “in 5 years time 24th May, I will.” [Uh-huh. And of course, that ne’er happened…]

The Persistent Suitor & a Hangover Memory (25 February-3 March)

Monday 25/2/85

BACK TO SCHOOL for another week. Yuk. Fiona has a cold. She’s bin sniffin’ all day. Lucy has left too. For good – I think. & Justine’s in her own world with Sarah H. Am tired. Nothing really happened today. End-of-unit science test on Wednesday; new PES teacher is Mrs Connors (she’s ooookaaaaay); German another bludge. double History (bigger bludge in the library); art was alright; BP yuk as always. Got the March Dolly & Wham! Magazine today. GREAT x-ept I’m a little disillusioned with the WHAM! thing. Not that excellent. Late-ish nite.

Tuesday 26/2/85

Today was supa-hot, too. More rain this arvy & thunder. Fiona’s cold is bad. I don’t (& she doesn’t) think she should’ve come to school. She had a temperature in the afternoon. Tim wasn’t here today. I didn’t see him, anyway. Mima yelled to me this arvy “Neville wants to know if you like him.” I smiled a sorrowful smile & shook my head; No. I wish he’d give up. I’ve already told (lied to) him that I’ve got a boyfriend in Brisbane. Hardly any HW tonite. Learnt a little for my science test. Nothing on except cricket (BORING!) Am so hot & bothered. Dunno if I’ll get to sleep. Bluelight is on 16th March (or so they say…)

Wednesday 27/2/85

I didn’t like today. (except that science test was easy & got a hell of a lot of work done in BP.) Fiona went home at little lunch, leaving me with Rebekah. Also lost my ruler and after speech, Fi brought up Neville again. She said he wrote, “I love Elissa” all through mima’s HW Diary. I wish he’d lay off. I don’t think I’ll go to the next Bluelight, cos’ (no doubt) he’ll be there hoping to dance & dance & dance….. And I know I’ll blow my stack. Mum went to a National trust meeting, Julia to a disco & me to Mandy & Bills. HOT again today. Got braces tightened. Dr Kadell said this was the last stage in my teeth fixing!! They come off on May 2nd!!

Thursday 28/2/85

Fi was away today. Boring. Hot. Told Beka about Neville (about the “Neville wants to know if you like him” & the “I love Elissa”.) She tried to hid her dissapointment. I told her I wasn’t going to go to the Bluelight, but later in PES (when she’d recovered) she told me I must come & be mean to him. I don’t know why she wants to do that. Rang Fi tonite. Told her about it she says she doesn’t want to go either – she’ll tell me ’bout it tomorrow. [Unfortunately if she did tell me about it, I didn’t enter it into my diary. So we’ll never know why.] Jodie (Julia’s friend) embarrassed me today… Tim (spunky) has bandages on his nose. He walked past & she said aloud “look at his nose”. (he’s broken it, doris!) He turned around How embarrassing!! [SO easily embarrassed?] Mandy came and looked at the tiles. Practised handstands I’m gettin’ betta! Can’t wait till Fi gets back!

Friday 1/3/85

16candlesPOSTERToday was Hot. Again. Yes, again. Fi was here today. School was boring. God Tim’s a spunk. He’s got bandages on his nose. Wonder why?…. (BROKEN, dick!!) Got off at Fi’s stop, cos’ mim told (signalled) me to. We had arvy tea then read books. Then we all went home. Then we got ready to go to the movies. Then the Brewers picked us up & Mim, Fi & I went. Julia was there too, with Petra. Beka SHIT was there too, with Justine. “16 Candles” was a top movie. “Hard to Hold” (before it) was THE pits.

Saturday 2/3/85

Today was plain. (I thought) Woke around 7:30 & lazed & dozed until 8:30. Didn’t start getting ready to go to work till around 10. Dad came an hour late. up till then. I just tried to do my english essay but couldn’t & walked around tidying up stray things. [Textbook Procrastination – a defining trait.] At work, I didn’t feel at all like doing washing drums cause at his new place, there’s no drains (You can’t do it outside in case the grass dies from chemicals) [It amazes me now that no one put two & two together back then: so it’s ok to drain the residual chemicals into our waterways, but not kill the grass outside the premises? How did it take – and unfortunately still is taking – so long for Humans to realise that we’re in a ‘closed circuit environment’?] So I cleaned 4 drums & did 2½hrs labelling – ($11) altogether. Lunch was filling. At home, mucked around watched TV. Had bath. Watched TV. No tea Just snacks. Late-ish nite. Not so hot, now. Fi rang today. She Didn’t ring back.

Sunday 3/3/85

Gutsy today. Ate so much. Woke around 7:30, wanted not to go to Pt Douglas with mum & Geoff, or to Dad’s, but to Fi’s. Rang her, but she rang back 5 mins later, crying, saying I wasn’t allowed. So went to Dad’s. Jenny had a bad hangover. She spent most of the day in bed! Jules & I got words for songs then I spent most of day doing nothing or watching TV, while trying to write my english essay, But I did get it started (finally) and am now almost finished. Is late & movie is stupid. Am full. Jenny left after walk on the beach, then Penwardens came for drinkies! Australia lost to India. Are definitely out of the finals now. [This day was forever etched in my stepmother’s memory. Or should I say branded, with a scorching hot poker? Julia & I played, stopped, rewound & played the song “One Night in Bangkok” by Murray Head on one of our mixed tapes on Dad’s stereo, over & over until we’d transcribed the lyrics, unbeknownst to us permanently instilling in Jenny a hatred for the song. She was sick as a dog and just wanted it to stop – but didn’t say anything at the time. It’s a running joke now.]  

In case you can’t recall the tune, here’s a link to a YouTube music video: One Night in Bangkok

Memories of Poo & Dead Pets (7-13 January)

Monday 7/1/85

Was our last nite. Tonight are staying in the house in the dark – bar 4 or so candles. Fiona did not call back last night. (I stayed up late to watch the movie) Neither did she call today. I think it was Mr D.’s fault. He has a poor memory (so Fi says.) Today was busy. What with carrying the last few loads to the house, then scouring out the flat, to make it shiny & clean (as possible). [One of my favourite stories relating to this exercise was mum’s experience of cleaning out the toilet; she discovered something that had hitherto been imperceptible to us all – that the result of my grandmother’s daily explosive bowel movements (with thanks to regular consumption of Epsom salts) – had somehow lightly spattered the walls. Mum, Julia and I were in absolute stitches!]  There are some boys who have moved in where Diane W. used to live. They whistled (well, one did, I think he’s 15 or so, not bad looking. I’m writing by candlelight.

Tuesday 8/1/85

Last night while having our Kentucky Fried Chicken the Skinners came to the Fishers. Skint!! Me in my frilly nightie!! I don’t think we are gonna get our bond money ($200) back – Today was hot, but quite a lot cooler in the house. In the morning FNQEB & Telecom came so we now have electricity & a ‘phone! Rang Fiona around 6:15. Had to ring back 15 mins later. When she answered, she was bright & chirpy and didn’t at all sound guilty about not ringing back Last Thurs. Are both coming tomorrow. Petra came up after lunch & is sleeping. She has given us 3 goldfish, from their pond. Hope they don’t die. [Our track record with smaller pets wasn’t too good. Mutliple fish had died in our care, most often jumping out of tanks when we weren’t around to put them back. One summer we accidentally killed a pet budgie by leaving its cage in the garage on a day that temperature soared. We came home to find it on the bottom of the cage with its eyes hanging out of its head. Terribly upsetting. We have had much more success with dogs as pets.]

Wednesday 9/1/85

Had a late night last night. Ate ice-cream as a midnight feast. Were sprung! This morning, playing cards with Jules & Petra when Fiona & Jemima came. Got a photo frame from Fiona (brass) & notebook, room card (vacant or home) & sticker from mima. Then went to mim’s for a swim. WAS STINKIN’ HOT TODAY! After a quick swim, danced to Madonna (great exercise) then we had to go home cause mim had to go to art classes at 1:30. Fi rang when I got home. We went to shop & looked at new railway [‘Freshwater Connection’] I came home & went to the dentist. A Life in WordsVery quick tightening. Came home & relaxed.

Thursday 10/1/85

Jemima & Fiona asked me if I’d like to see ‘Ghostbusters’ with them tomorrow. I think they do like me; they are trying to start afresh. Being as best, best friend to me as possible. Today, mainly waited for mima/fiona. Woke quite early after a late night, then went out to do some things before lunch (getting things for the house) then just read, played cards, ate & lazed around all afternoon. I rang mim & fi about 20 times, finally mim answered. She couldn’t stay tonight but I was to go to her house at 8:30, along with Fi & Beka to catch the 9:00 bus. A Life in Words

Friday 11/1/85

After a late night last night (10:30) woke at 7:00 & began the rigmarole of deciding what to wear to the movies. Actually it was easy. Got to mime’s a little early, but got going (Polly, Beka, Fi, Mim & Me) at 8:45 When got in to town, got off near Coles & bought our “supplies”. Got a seat in the theatre (by the look of the que, didn’t think there’d be any room). Glenn came.. Ghostbusters was terrific!  No other word to describe it. After, walked around town then took bus to mim’s at 2:00 Swam all arvy. Wanted to sleep somewhere but weren’t allowed. Had to go to Yacht Club for tea.

Saturday 12/1/85

Quite a late night last night as well (10:30). Have decided to sleep at Fi’s tonight, in the garden, under a tarp… Hope we’re allowed tonight..!! Got to Fi’s at 9:00, she only just got out of bed! When mima came, we played cards till Lucy came at 10:00. Then walked (after lunch) to mima’s got her stuff, walked to my place (stayed for lunch) walked back to fi’s. Set up the tent. Looked like it would rain but did not. Rebekah came late. Fiona told me what Beka was upset about before ‘ghostbusters’ – she didn’t know I was coming – she “can’t stand Elissa.” Stupid bitch. Lucy was bitchy too.

Sunday 13/1/85

Last night got to sleep around 2:00. Had 3 smokes only for fun, ate & played cards. Have a sore throat. Have had it since I woke at 8:00 this morning. [Not the ‘fun’ smoking the night before, poten After clearing up, we all decided to go Freshy for a swim. Was cool & overcast. Lotsa guys None spunky (x-ept one) who, from a distance, looked like Sean (my spunk) on our way back (Lucy was picked up) these “toughies” wanted us to come back & swim. We didn’t – who would. Then, came to my place. Lazed about, Beka left, lazed about, went to shop, picked up mim & fi’s gear. Late nite AGAIN!


Growing Pains at the Cairns High Fete (13-19 August)

Monday 13/8/84

Practically asleep on my feet today. Not a good day – slow & boring. Mick came late, so we were the 5th bus to leave, instead of 3rd. Got a book out of the library called Manx Mouse – haven’t started reading it yet. At home, rode to shop & bought a ‘Cool Shark’ for arvy tea – there is NOTHING & I mean nothing to eat in our house. [I tried to find a picture of the old ‘Cool Shark’ ice blocks but to no avail. They were literally blue in colour and the thought of that toxic colouring now sends shivers down my spine]

Tuesday 14/8/84

A Life in Words
…and in case you didn’t know what the knees were…

Asleep on my feet again! Am SO TIRED lately! Slow day. Shamed Sharon M. today. She likes John C. & when he walks past our stop in the mornings, well today we yelled out things like “Sharon loves John” etc. Still haven’t started “Manxmouse” yet. At last year’s speech concert, I had to wear a black cotton dress. Today I cut it into a tube. Just belt it at the top & it makes a great skirt!! [My mum didn’t think so. “I wish you wouldn’t cut everything up” became words I got too used to hearing. But I was a budding fashion designer…what did she expect?]

Wednesday 15/8/84

ANOTHER slow day! Went to the dentist: he said I’m his no°1 toothbrusher (with) braces) & I’ll have to have these shitty braces on for 18 months. Stayed in at art in Big Lunch. After speech went to shop & our tree. Ate & got home on dusk! Supposed to get my ear repierced (the right one – the one I couldn’t get an earring into) Pat said it was too small so I’ll hafta go back & get him to do something.

Thursday 16/8/84

Didn’t go to Kevin Shorey today – just forgot! STUART d. has sugar DIABETES. [Type 1, unlike the majority of  children these days, sadly] Fi said he went into hospital today [I have omitted a potentially sensitive statement here] she’s really upset – cries & everything. Mim & I wanted to go & see him but couldn’t. Today was boring – watched high jumps again. Phillip & Matthew were around asking Julia to go for a walk. Kept bugging us but was fun!

Friday 17/8/84

Dunphys may be buying the Sheridan St Newsagency!! And Fi said I could do the paper run but Nana is against it. UP HER ARSE!! Today was also .. Boring. In Double Science ½ of 9B had to come into our class because their teacher was absent (& there were no relieving teachers) but Fi went into 9C. Went to High Jumps AGAIN. A Life in WordsWatched the movie “the Big Bus”. Was meant to be funny, but wasn’t that good. In fact, it was pathetic.

Saturday 18/8/84

Am bugared. Mrs H. drove us to & from tennis. Got home, showered & had lunch. Made my black skirt, dressed & met Karen to go to the Freshy fete. Stayed for ½hr – wasn’t great. Rushed home, changed, picked up Lucy & went. The Cairns High (CHS) fete was fantastic &  great. The Disco was unreal (or at least the breakdancers were) Got growing pains [aching legs] therefore I was tired & bored. Mima was with Glenn C. most of the night (y’know his sister Lynette – the one with all the fashionable clothes.) He is spunky!! (and year 8) Am sooo tired now.

Sunday 19/8/84

Woke up 8:30. Left for dad’s. Stayed at a park while dad had a trial run for triathlon. [It was his debut – and maiden – entry in the major local event , the “Coral Coast Triahtlon”. I am quite certain he was a part of a team, since I don’t recall him ever owning a bike. He was a (fun) runner.] Went to little Di’s place for lunch after & stayed till 7:30. Back at dad’s had soup for tea, got into bed at 8:50 & I hoped to be asleep before 9:30.

A Dental History Worth Recounting

Let it be known, I fear no dentist.

The amount of work I’ve had carried out in my mouth is impressive. But when you’re almost a teenager desperate for some kind of sign that you aren’t completely repellant to the opposite sex, your desire to smile with confidence is strong. Strong enough that you’d be willing to wear a mouthful of metal for ‘many months’ of your life.

A Life in Words
From this smile (1983)….

Part of my pearly-white problem was thumb-sucking. It was something I didn’t grow out of in my early youth, like other kids. In fact, I was still doing it (at night, in the privacy of my own home) up to the age of twelve, when the damage had already been done… I’d inflicted bucked teeth upon myself. Well done! Couple that abnormality with the hereditary gap between my front upper incisors (which my father used to lovingly joke about being sizey enough to spit peas through) and I developed an aversion to open-mouthed smiling.

What child WANTS braces? This one did, desperately. And surprisingly it took awhile for me to convince first my mother and then our family dentist to commence corrective treatment. And it wasn’t to be a simple case of wiring up for 6 months or so…no! I never do things by halves.

The dentist was ‘waiting’ for what seemed to be a stubborn baby eye tooth to do the normal thing – fall out, making way for the adult tooth. Since time was getting on and the ‘norm’ wasn’t happening, the dentist’s suspicion grew so I was sent for an X-ray. It was revealed that my ‘adult’ eye tooth was growing horizontally through the roots of – perpendicular to – the  two neighbouring front incisors’. Left unattended – or undiscovered – all three adult teeth would apparently have rotted over time, all needed extraction, then I’d’ve ended up with a gap much more worthy of complaint (and aesthetic repugnancy).

So I had to undergo surgery to ‘expose’ the wayward tooth. Since neither of my parents could afford private dental work, we attended the Dental Clinic at the Cairns Base Hospital where mum’s ‘single parent’ status earned us free treatment. It was local anaesthetic so after copping three needles (two little and one Mother-of-God!) I was aware of digging, drilling and tugging sensations but opted to keep my eyes squeezed tightly shut. The culprit eye tooth was successfully exposed and ‘re-planted’ and the front and second incisors were ‘saved’ (cue pre-recorded audience applause) but I had a hole in the roof of my mouth that was ‘packed’ (with..? something) and bled like a bitch all over my pillow on the first night when my sneaky little thumb tried to creep back into my mouth. I am fairly certain that episode killed the habit once and for all.

There followed at ‘waiting period’ – for everything to settle and heal post-surgery before they could move to the next phase: the external-brace-with-elastic-strap-around-the-back-of-the-head. (This is the stage I’m at during the first part of my 1984 diary).

Instructed to wear it for fourteen hours a day, I quickly worked out that if I put the contraption on as soon as I got home from school and removed before I went to school the next day, I’d accrue “Free Time”. So that was a game I played for the however many months I was required to endure it, and surprisingly it impressed my (future) stepmother: for the self-discipline & organisational skills I displayed.

Finally I got the braces. By this time the glue, the grips, the wire, the tightenings were certainly no big deal to me. They were only applied to my upper teeth, so the poor neglected residents of my lower jaw have jostled for space from day dot. I’m assuming the dental clinic didn’t want to have to use any more resources or do anymore work than was absolutely necessary and since my lower lip fortunately disguises the lower pearlies when I smile, I guess it wasn’t considered as important.

From memory they lasted about 6 months then in quick succession I was given the plate. To the observer, it appeared to be a dainty single wire neatly ‘fencing’ my bite, but the bulk of it ‘nestled’ into the roof of my mouth considerably testing my speech abilities. The hard mould created a ‘false roof’ which also proved entertaining (and sometimes disgusting) when I consumed particular foods.

A Life in Words
…to this (2009)

That could have been the end of it. All those years of sacrifice resulted in a greater desire to part my lips and a relatively proportional increase in self confidence. But… some time after the plate was ditched and my relationship with Cairns Base Hospital’s Dental Clinic was truly over, a small gap crept back in between those two front teeth. Stubborn little bugger!

It wasn’t until the early-mid ’90’s when Mum, Julia and I were all living in Brisbane, that our brilliant new dentist in Toowong pointed out that the hereditary (and tenacious) gaps both Julia and I had (despite all my dental torture) was the result of a little piece of  connective tissue called the frenum, being particularly ‘hardy’ in our cases. The frenum is the stringy connection (dead centre) attaching your lips to the gums of both the upper and lower jaws.

So, I went under the knife again. Both Julia and I had labial frenectomies, but only at the gums, from between our teeth – we still have the ‘stringy attachment’ bits keeping our top lips connected to the insides of our mouths.

My gap has finally packed its bags. The over-bite has long gone. And I have no qualms about smiling now.