14 September 1989 and related memories

On 14 September 1975 a boy at Wollongong High turned 14. He had contributed what he later called an “annual sob story” to the school magazine, The Gleam. I was involved as a teacher with producing that magazine.

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The Illawarra Mercury published (October 2015) the following photo of the 1972 Wollongong High orchestra. It gives a taste of those now far-off days.

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In 1980 he was an exchange student in Corvallis, Oregon. While there he saw the eruption of Mount St Helens.

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He also went down to San Francisco where he witnessed the1980 Gay Pride:

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Yes, he was gay, and subject despite all his talent and accomplishments (academic and sporting) to depression. In Sydney he was part of the team from 1981 to 1985 which produced the magazine Neos: Young Writers. See also my 2011 post Magic moments and fading memory.

Sadly, on 14 September 1989, on his birthday, he took his own life. Soon after as part of my own grieving I wrote “When Snow Drifts Melt.” Though names are altered in that story it is in fact very close to what really happened.

We often meet like this by accident. So we have coffee at the Green Park Diner and then he comes with me to the decaying terrace in Paddington which is looking better than the last time he’d seen it. The talk is of birthdays and I comment that his is next week on the 14th and he repeats so formally yes it’s on the 14th and I think nothing more about it.

Rest in peace. You are not forgotten.

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