Merbein, Victoria, 1969.

I was twelve, I’d never been out by myself before…I was keen, I was suddenly ripe for it – but I was nervous.  What would I wear? What would I DO?….it was all a big unknown.

It was a light cherry red – not my favourite blood red – but it was red.  A gift from, of all people, my sister, who never was, never will be, and most importantly, doesn’t want to be a fashion icon.  The shirt had very long rounded lapels like elongated petals, with overlong cuffs on puffed sleeves (not quite Anne of Green Gables), and the buttons were tiny and in pairs.  The material chiffon and, would you believe, I remember the label…Bon Ton.  This was the shirt, despite the temperatures approaching 100 degrees Fahrenheit, that I HAD to wear to the party.  The slightly short flared jeans and the shoes didn’t matter.  I had to wear that shirt.  “Won’t you be hot?” my mother enquired.  Like everyone in history who gets to successfully wear inappropriate clothing for whatever reason, I said “I’ll be OK”.

I’d just finished my grade 6 year at Merbein Primary School, in  the far north-west corner of Victoria. No graduation ceremonies or dinners back then.  In fact I can’t remember anything official to mark the end of the primary school experience.  But one of my friends had obtained permission from her parents to have a party and I’d been invited.

My mother drove me to the party, after helping me get ready.  She knew it was a turning point for me and when I think about it, it must have been for her as well, for I was her last born.

We had a good time at the party. Chasing boys around a dark garden trying to corner them and kiss them.  When I finally caught the boy I fancied I was so disappointed that all I got was a peck! Seriously?!!  My hormones were running but apparently not his! I don’t remember the food – or the drink – but there was certainly no alcohol.  I do remember the music though.  First memory was the pianola which was pretty much a new discovery for me.  We spent ages going through the many rolls.  My favourite of the old rolls was Rock Around The Clock (which caused my parents some amusement later – but it is not the song of this story).

Outside when the party was in full swing, the song that stands out in my memory was not the A side of the 45 vinyl, but the B side.  It was I think the first time a double single had been put out on 45.  The A side was a great song but too soft, too relaxed for that night. The B side was wilder, louder and it hit the spot….the night I’d ended two eras – my primary school years…but also my childhood.  And to team it with the end of Sixties, that most amazing of decades, with arguably the most famous band in history….has left an indelible footprint in my memory. Revolution by The Beatles.


Stereo Story # 606


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