Monday, August 22, 2016

We're playing those mind games together (John Lennon)

The power and the glory (You may say I'm a dreamer - Chapter 4, part 1)

Fringe days were numbered. T shirt by Wozza.

We're playing those mind games togetherPushing the barriers, planting seeds -                     John Lennon (Mind Games)

Every December, I enviously wave off the year's Year 13 students who are heading to university.  Little do they realise the super intense changes that are in store as their glory days beckon!

Leaving a dodgy school record behind was extremely liberating for me. I guess I should have been concerned about my ability to cope, instead, I felt eager, confident, and thirsty for university life.

Finally...finally I was going to get that long dreamed of Master of Arts degree. I became even more single minded in its pursuit. 

Ramelton Rd - Ross arriving, my mini already ensconsed.
Throughout these years (1977 to 1981) I continued to live at home - number 4 Ramelton Road, Mt Roskill South, with mum, dad, and Ross.

Woz and dad, Taupo holidays at Te Rangiita were full of fishing adventures

During these years we enjoyed our last holidays together as a family in Taupo, as I was on the cusp of a new life on my own.

But not yet!

Woz and mum, Taupo holidays were full of fun!

Stage One (1977)
In three years time, to achieve a master's degree in English the fine print said I needed two papers in another language. The long summer holiday of 1976 was spent poring over the University Calendar and figuring out what to do.

Help was required, so Greg (who was also going to Auckland University to do a science degree) and I went to see Warwick Gibbs in his Auckland central flat that he shared with his elderly mum for his advice. Even though I'd studied French since 1971, I knew I wouldn't cope with it at university. 

Explaining the situation to Warwick was easy. He understood my situation. His advice was to take two Spanish papers - one on literature, t'other on language. Being new to all Stage One students meant that I had more of a chance to pass. So that's what I did.

Again, to his eternal credit, even though he may have been thinking it, at no point did Warwick nay say my aim to get a master's degree.

As explained previously, I was turned down for a teaching studentship during seventh form, but I knew I was destined to be a teacher so I took two education papers anyway.

English and history, my best subjects at school, made up another four papers to make eight in total for that first year. 

At the end of 1977, another application for a teaching studentship was made and again it was denied, but I passed everything with good enough grades to pick up a B Bursary and ploughed ever onwards.

The self indulgent years - in double exposure. I love this shot taken at Ramelton Road.
Stage Two (1978)
Now I concentrated on history, Asian history and English. Early into this second year, the studentship people rang me - someone had dropped out and a place was now available - was I interested? You betcha baby!! After only two rejections (ha!) I was on my career path at last.

As expected, Ross breezed through
MAGS, and gained a BSc a year
after my graduation for BA.
In exchange for a bond agreement (teach as many years as the studentship lasted) came financial freedom. Great stuff - my record collection blossomed and I could afford my first car, an orange Mini. Result!

Even though Stage Two was an academically demanding year I again didn't fail anything and even picked up an A Bursary.

During these first few years, I was lucky to find an amazing group of friends. Many came via Greg (he's a popular lad), then some via Simmsy (also a popular lad), then some from other sources.

Among the supporting cast of The Wozza Show: Kevin Simms and his then girlfriend, Helen George, both were doing commerce; Phyllis Omand, finishing a BA; Lynley Wood, law (co-incidentally, sister of old school friend Brian Wood); and, of course, my school chum Greg. What a talented bunch!

We hung out, a lot! Our routines involved finding each other in the library (we had set possies), putting study on hold to grab a drink in the coffee bar on campus and meeting in the new recreation centre for lunch. Mum's afghan biscuits (a.k.a. camel dung cookies) were a regular treat with the troops!

Frequently in stitches, we bonded. Some of the bonds endured: Kevin, Greg and I laughed hysterically at the same things and loved music with a passion; Kevy was a Glenfield Rovers stalwart so we had football in common (Man U vs Arsenal); Phyllis and her new boyfriend, Anthony Harris; Lynley and I were platonic friends from day one; Brett Reid, a football mate of Kevy's, and I went to the three day Nambassa music festival in Waihi.

There were other friends as well: Jo Priddy - we all went to her 21st; Kevin Carter and Phil Coombs I knew from football; Kevin Prewitt; Wendy Knowles (Greg's wife, she typed up all my essays - in days before PCs so there were loads of drafts. Literally, she saved my bacon*! Big shout out to you Wendy - I still have them and they still look amazing - many thanks!!).

* The deliberately inappropriate use of 'literally' is an in joke that my students and Jacky will get. 

We all had a heap of things in common: young; achievers; talented; not one smoker among us; white New Zealanders; sporty: middle class backgrounds; well behaved and wanting to enjoy student life to the full.

BA grad - MAGS tie, my mini!
Stage Three (1979)
Six English papers flew past and I had my B.A. Understandably, mum and dad were thrilled but to me the job was only half done. For me, the bachelor degree was purely a necessary stepping stone.

Unfortunately, at the end of those three intense years, the crazy gang broke up as they left to start their careers, leaving me to do my two years of Masters' papers on my tod. 

It's a shame how important people come and go in life. Thankfully, Facebook was invented to allow Kevy, Greg and me to remain in contact. I value their on going love and support! Plus, they are still hilarious!!

Next up - a new supporting cast and the pinnacle of success.

Love and peace - Wozza

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