Wednesday, December 3, 2008

This was my exciting morning

Disclaimer; Many people who read this will not think it's exciting.

It's funny how things in life connect.

When I left school I went to USQ in Toowoomba and completed a music degree majoring in piano. There I met and was good friends with a double bass player called Murray Gay who had come from Hervey Bay. This was in the days before everyone was facebooking, myspacing, emailing etc so as I result of me being a poor letter writer I lost touch with most people I studied with. I took a detour to UQ and completed a BA in English. At the completion of these two degrees and a large HECS debt later, I found myself jobless and fairly unemployable. So I left Brisbane and moved to Hervey Bay where I taught the piano and strings for three years at an Anglican College. While I was there, I would read the local paper and Murray's father - a local historian, radio man etc was often mentioned in the paper. I would think to myself, I should get in touch with them, seeing as I went to uni with their son. I never did.

Tiring of teaching unwilling year 4 students to hold a violin bow, I left my job and returned to Bundaberg where there was now a university campus, and started an honours degree in cultural studies. I wrote a little dissertation on postmodernity and satire on Australian television. All the while I continued to teach the piano and violin, as I was still fairly unemployable in the real world. I then completed a Phd which eventually ended up being about (amongst other things) selected examples from Australian television comedy from Graham Kennedy through to Kath and Kim.

Then a week or so ago I see the front of the Australian running a story about a Hervey Bay retiree, Henry Gay and some "lost letters" of Graham Kennedy. Hmmmm, I think to myself there is something strange about this story. It sounds like Graham Blundell has found a huge archive of letters and prised them away from Mr Gay. I had some other uncharitable thoughts about this (based on a previous experience) but let them go.

Then this morning as I was diligently working my way through my thesis to book editing I was in the middle of the chapter about Kennedy and these uncharitable thoughts came back to me. I wanted to find out what really happened to all this correspondence, hoping that it was still in the hands of its owner, Mr Gay. So I got out the local phone book and rang them up. Henry wasn't home, but I had a lovely chat to his wife Maureen. To my relief, they have taken good care and protection of the letters and other archival material. They are also slightly suspicious of journalists. I am going to ring back tomorrow to chat further, being very interested to find out not so much about Kennedy's personal life, but if he ever commented on his television work in the same glowing terms as so many commentators, or what he really thought of it.

So, now I'm sitting here at my desk thinking how strange the connections are we are that we make in life. I went to uni many years ago and met someone whose father had a stock of letters from a famous Australian television personality, who 15 years later I would want to contact and talk to because I had written about said personality in my thesis.

And what I also wonder is how this present might be different if I had made that contact all those years ago in Hervey Bay.

But we cannot return to the past, nor should we live our life regretting it. Maybe this is how it was meant to turn out.


Qualtrough said...

I think it's exciting
Cheerio Murray

Wendy said...

Oh I'm so glad!