From my past they come — the boys of 70 years ago…

In 2017 I posted: 65 years on I recall Vermont Street.

And here I am in that world, towards the end of the period.

That is April 1955 and I am in the front yard of 1 Vermont Street with my mother.  I am 11 years old, and newly at Sydney Boys High. I had had a serious illness just six months before – pancreatitis – so I may look a touch thin still. All the ribbons are because we are going to the GPS Regatta at Penrith, a big deal in those days and perhaps even more so in my family. I was the first in the family entitled to go as I was in a GPS school – albeit the only state-owned one – as I would later be the first in the family to go to university.

Just three years earlier my sister had died – 71 years ago now. She was cremated and her urn placed in a rose garden at Woronora Cemetery, which she now shares with Grandma and Grandpa Christison, who died in 1959 and 1963 respectively…

Here is my class at Sutherland Public School:

Front row 2nd from left Colin Dawson and on right of boy with board ? Cliff Tanko

Next row 3rd from left Mervyn Simmons and two along to the right Malcolm Simmons

Srcond back row 2nd from left Robert Greer. Two futher along a Stapleton, then two to the right another Stapleton

Back row 5 from left ?Ross Mackay. then Brian Smith, me, Laurence Napier

This concerns the Dawsons

Just a few days ago I retold this story.

An episode when I was 8 or 9. I described it here: A bit of a mystery about my own life solved perhaps, thanks to Facebook.

And I remember my neighbours in Vermont Street, Sutherland, the Dawsons. Facebook puts me in touch with first the next generation, and then, miracle of miracles, with one of the three brothers I knew in the early 1950s.

Colin and Jimmy [Dawson] probably saved my life once when I had a bursting appendix at school in 1952 or 3 — complicated by the fact my sister had died of something similar in January 1952. They took care of me and carried me home one lunchtime when I am afraid the teachers were not taking much notice of my case. I was in such pain. I have never forgotten what they did. The next day I was in St George Hospital.

The youngest brother writes:

Hi I’m Graham Dawson, Jim & Col’s younger brother. They are both well & Jim lives here with me on The Sunshine Coast & Col lives in Bundaberg. I remember you from those times, I was just the little brother hanging around. Lol.

How wonderful is that, after all these years!

I thought that was wonderful — but as nothing compared with what happened in the Facebook group Sutherland Shire School Photos and Memories – Early Times to the 1990s yesterday!

Leslie Roll, now Peter Norman Meadows! Classmates from Sutho 1951-4 reappearing here! Nice! 70 years on…. And the Dawson boys last year through FB and my blog — they are in Queensland: Jimmy, Colin and little brother Graham, the one who made contact….

How good is that!

And since posting this I have been thinking more about that time Colin and Jim really may well have saved my life. It must have been in early 1953, so I was 9. Col might have been 10 — I was young for the class — and Jim possibly 11. They literally did carry me, quite a way including through the Sutherland shops and across the railway bridge at the station. And they carriied our school bags too no doubt. I still remember some people staring at us, and Jim I think giving a bit of cheek to some who questioned what we were doing in the middle of a school day. Yes, looking back on it what they did was quite remarkable. Talk about mateship.