I recently received an email from a lady whom I shall call Jill... mainly because her name is Jill. Her son was in the same guitar-making course as my dad, and she contacted me to let me know that her mother had said to say hi to me.
Let's go back a bit. When I was a wee lad of four or five, we were living in Papua New Guinea, on a mission college campus. I loved books. We had a lot of books in our house. I loved stories. My parents read me a lot of stories. And Mrs Palmer, who lived close by, had a lot of books, and story records. You know, dramatised stories, mostly riffing on Christian themes (being nice to people, being honest, sharing your toys, honouring your parents, washing your hands before dinner, all that kind of good gear). And I used to sneak away without asking permission and tell Mrs Palmer that my mummy had said it was OK for me to come and listen to her records. (Spot the irony?)
I recall Mum would occasionally get frustrated that she'd have to come and get me (she always knew where I was, at least), and no doubt she felt obliged to apologise to Mrs Palmer for having to accomodate her wandering lad, but I don't remember her ever getting angry about it. Maybe she knew that I was happily up to my eyeballs in that wonderful story-world, and it wouldn't have made much difference if she had kicked my tail about it anyway.
In her email, Jill calls me a 'dreamy little kid'. In my Grade 1 school report it says a similar thing: 'James would do better in school if he could stop daydreaming'. Maybe. But school ain't everything.
Good luck to all those kids doing their HSC exams this fortnight, but try not to let the stress get on top of you.
(If you're reading this via Facebook Notes: this post is redirected from my 'head vs desk' blog.)