Saturday, October 3, 2009

This week I lost a friend

I would love to be able to regale you with tales of crafting misadventure but I am afraid that this week such things are the last thing on my mind. Crafting has been a nice distraction but that is about it.

On Wednesday I found out that one of my dear friends was a victim of the tsunami in Samoa. I have known Viv since I was a teenager. Back then she was a teacher and I a student but even then we shared a passion for the performing arts that bonded us. I remember the productions that I did with her when I was at high school as some of the highlights of my education. I was never the star but none the less she appreciated my contributions and treated me as though I was as special as any of the leads.

I can still remember sharing mushroom pizza with her and another teacher (John Stubbings) before a performance, 'Bats' I think it was. I had never tried mushroom pizza and in her particular style she told me just "give it a go". I did and actually enjoyed it.

Later we became colleagues when I returned to my old high school to teach. That same passion was there and the same happy smiley face greeted me so many years later. Viv knew that I loved the performing arts and soon I was roped into all sorts of things.

I have had so many magnificent experiences with Viv. School productions, Rock Eisteddfods and other endeavours. We got cross with each other at times, we probably yelled at each other some times and we certainly didn't always agree but we always had the best time and we shared a love of the process and the product and an immense pride in the efforts of every student.

Later we shared a homeroom and together we loved and cared for those kids. Each one of those students knew that there were people looking out for them and they appreciated it. Like me, Viv loved a project, she loved to help a kid that needed an extra nudge or some adult attention.

Viv and I also worked side by side as subject leaders - she Arts and I Science. We went head to head at times. She a dogged advocate for her great passion and me mine. We also supported each other often when we could see the way and others couldn't. Later when I was head of curriculum I could have cheerfully strangled her on many an occasion when she was such a passionate advocate. Regardless I always appreciated that passion.

Most importantly Viv was my friend. She was caring and loving and she seemed always to know the right things to say. She was there when I needed her and I her. I remember calling her from the winery next door to her place one monday night from a hash run. I was quite slooshed and it was probably 9 or 10 o'clock. She got her shoes on and came over for a drink. I knew she would.

The news has been a bit surreal of late. I keep seeing Viv's face and hearing about the teacher from Ballarat. Viv was not just a teacher from Ballarat. She was Rod's partner, Carla and Steph's Mum and my friend. I am going to miss her terribly.

Monday her desk next to mine will be a stark reminder.

Viv's family have requested donations to the Red Cross appeal for Samoa and Tonga. I would be grateful if you could spare a few dollars.


Sam said...

it's been a rough year Jack. My thoughts are with the staff and students at Mount Clear and of course Rod and the girls. I've donated to the Red Cross this morning in Viv's memory, I hope lots of others do too.

Alrischa said...

I heard she was a Ballarat teacher, and I wondered if you knew her. So sorry you lost a friend! I bet she was on a hard-earned holiday, too.

Stitch Sista said...

You know, when I heard a teacher from Ballarat had passed the first person I thought of was you. I had no idea if you knew her, but somehow just felt you would.

I'm so sorry for your loss and especially her's terribly sad.

Fi said...

So sorry for your loss. I hate to think about what will meet me when I go back to school in a week.
Our school has a very pacific presence, and I am sure there will be sadness in our community also.

Kylie said...

Sending hugs during the rough time for all. Hugs also for Monday - it will be hard for alot of people to return to work and school and not see there teacher and friend. Thinking of you and thankyou for sharing her story with us.

lillismum said...

sending you love and hugs Jackie xxxxxxx

Corrie said...

ohhhh I'm so sorry! you've got me all teary, she sounds like someone amazing and such a sad loss

take care

Tania said...

That was lovely to read Jack. I'm so sorry for you losing a friend. Wishing you all in the school community there much strength.