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A reminder of the joy and grief of home

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THERE was one pre-school in the region where I grew up and still live.

It was down by the waterfront a couple of kilometres from our house. It's gone now. A pre-school with water views was never going to survive city rejuvenation plans.

The pre-school had a swimming pool and a bright change area/cloak room, with little pictures - of animals, maybe - above the hooks where you could hang a bag or jacket.

I have lovely memories of that place. I was three years old when I started, which was unusual for the time, 1963.

My mother tells the story of how she begged the lovely woman who ran the pre-school to take me on. My mother was pregnant with her fourth baby and I wasn't dealing at all well with the fact my best friend - next door neighbour Jeannie, 4 - was at the pre-school, and I wasn't.

The begging pregnant woman appeal must have worked. That and the likelihood Mum walked from our house to the pre-school because she didn't drive, probably with children in tow. How could a nice pre-school owner say no?

So I went to pre-school regularly for a couple of years and stayed tight with my bestie.

There are photos of the two of us together. She was a cheeky blonde and I was a ratty brunette. She lived as an only child with her grandparents next door but spent a lot of time on our side of the fence. Or out on the street with other kids or over in the park. It was the early 1960s. Things were quieter then.

When Jeannie........

© Canberra Times