English Boys

For various reasons I have been thinking about the members of my year 12 3-unit English class.

I have written before about En, our teacher.

Our year was the second year of the “best 10 units out of 500” HSC. At the school I attended, the additional classes for 3-unit Economics and 3-unit English were timetabled at the same time. The school had a strong Economics push (and probably a strong commercial ethos generally amongst its intake), and most boys with the choice chose Economics. There were only seven of us who chose 3-unit English. Indeed, I had thought it was only six, which would mean that one of the people mentioned below cannot have been in the class.

And where are we now?

En died suddenly last year a couple of years after retiring from the same school.

A now lives in Germany and works in IT. Although he came to Australia as a one-year-old and lived here until the age of 21 or 22 and his family all still live here, he lost his Australian residency after a few years living in Germany. There he lived that kind of extended student life that Germans are capable of, first in West Berlin and then studying languages in order to become a translator, during which time he also worked as a tour guide. I spent some time with him in Germany and also saw him when he returned to Australia for intervals of various length. At the age of almost 40, he married for the third or possibly even fourth time (he had been the first of us to marry when he married his childhood sweetheart straight out of school, thereby qualifying for a student allowance), had two children and settled down working for a big IT multinational. We still keep in touch.

B lives in Sydney. He is a rock journalist and quite well-known and widely published. He is the only one of us to have become a professional writer. I don’t know anything about his personal life.

Bx lives in another city in Australia. He received the university medal in Chinese at Sydney Uni and studied first at Cambridge (which he hated, but where he met his now wife, who also hated it) and then in the other Australian city in question. A few years ago he finally secured a permanent position there. Having originally studied Song dynasty Buddhism he is now an expert on the Falun Gong. I last spoke to him about 10 years ago, and I can’t quite work out why we finally fell out of contact with each other then. I tend to think it is children and marriage which sever the umbilical chords to school and university friends, though geography may also be a contributing factor here.

D is an anaesthetist somewhere in Sydney. I am sure he is married with children. I last saw him in 1997 at a school twenty-year reunion.

Rather shockingly, another of us, G, is also dead. After school he went to law school (these were the days when you could still do straight law) and afterwards practised as a solicitor. I used to see him at court from time to time, mostly, at Downing Centre Local Court, and we would always have a friendly (but hardly profound) chat. He practised at a firm at the city. One evening at a party he apparently suffered a heart attack and dropped dead. He was only 45 or 46. He didn’t look unhealthy at all and I have sometimes wondered if there was a secret hidden wild side or cocktail of drugs involved. He left a widow and children. I very occasionally see his elder brother or his elder brother’s wife, who is a pianist I know from my youthful Eisteddfod days.

Gx also lives in Sydney, though for some years he lived in Japan. He also has two children by a lesbian couple who have now split up. He shares parenting of the children – who presumably now have 3 parental households. I quite frequently run into his elder brother who is also (or so I judge) gay and goes to quite a few concerts. I hardly ever run into Gx. He works as a trainer for a large government department.

I have already said more than enough about myself in these pages.

2 Responses to “English Boys”

  1. The Rabbit Says:

    I could do such an entry myself, if I still had a blog or maintained an interest. 3-unit English became “English Extension 1” and I have 4 kids doing the preliminary course: three girls and a girly kind of boy. I like them all.

  2. marcellous Says:

    Maintained an interest in what, Rabbit?

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