52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History Week 37 Earliest Memories

17 September 2011

Gunderson young familyI’m participating in the weekly blogging theme 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History and this week’s topic is all about our earliest memories. I find it hard to define earliest – is it what I actually remember or what I think I remember? A lot of  early photographs of me with my family often make me think I remember but I suspect I am just remembering having seen the photos before, and not the actual event.

Most of the earliest memories that spring to my mind are from Grade One at school – this was a big change in my life and I clearly remember the first day because I was so scared. That morning I proudly got dressed in my new uniform and Mum packed my lunch and a cold drink bottle into my school port which I carried on my back. I had been looking forward to going to school so much. Although Bardon State School in Brisbane was only about a 10-15 minute walk from our place, by the time I walked there on my own, I had scared myself silly. My mother had stayed at home with my younger brother.

Shauna in her Bardon State School uniform

Shauna in her Bardon State School uniform

It was 50 years ago and kids did walk to school then so what spooked me? Unknown to me my drink bottle was leaking and seeping out onto the back of my uniform. I had been told not to stop anywhere, so I kept going but was increasingly frightened by the ever spreading sticky wetness on my back. Had I been a little older I might have twigged it was just a leaky bottle but at the time it was all too strange.

Fortunately my first ever teacher was a lovely, motherly kind of woman and she immediately saw what the problem was and that I was upset. She was the type of teacher that kept spare children’s clothes at school just in case of illness or accidents. She helped me take off the uniform and put on a change of clothes and then rinsed it out so that it didn’t stain.

I can’t remember much more about that day but I have lots of memories from that first year of school and the things we did together in class. She was an excellent first year teacher and made our transition into the education system easier.

My memories of school after that year are not so pleasant and was often dependent on how well I got on with the teacher. But then that’s a story for another blog!


Shauna has been tracing her own family history since 1977 and is a Fellow of the Queensland Family History Society. In 2009 Shauna received the Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations (AFFHO) Services to Family History Award for her achievements in Queensland, Canberra and Victoria.

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