I had a pretty normal childhood, we moved to Tasmania from NZ in 1977 and I started school in 1980 (whoa that's 30 years ago!). My dad started having an affair not long after we arrived (I have since worked out) and my parents eventually split in about 1982/3. I'm giving you the years, because in our conservative little corner of Tasmania divorce and separation were virtually unheard of and I'm trying to describe the stigma attached to it. At first they told us, Dad was going on a holiday to Queensland and I think I might have been aware of a girl friend, but not enough to ask if she was going too. I was pretty young so got on with the job of being a kid. I think I first became aware of the gravity of it all when my mum sent me on a sunday school girls camp - or something like that. I was the youngest by a couple of years and the older girls cornered me as I was coming out of the toilet and made me tell them that my parents were separated. I will never forget the ring leaders name and hated her from that day forward. I will also never forget the day at High School when I heard her parents were splitting up too. I didn't feel joy and I definitely didn't feel sad for her I think I felt a quiet satisfaction with how the world worked out that day.
My mum was a teacher at my school, in fact I was in her class in Grade Three, the year they split and something that sticks with me was the school's decision to move me into the other Grade 4 class the following year. The school's normal policy was that you stayed in th same class until grade 6 where they mixed you up so you could ready for High School. I'll never forget the heart wrench and the tears that fell when I saw the letter on the last day of Grade 3 confirming I'll be leaving all my friends and the only stable thing I had going on was pulled from under me. Looking back now, part of me thinks for god's sake it's just up the corridor, but another part of me wonders WHAT THE HELL WERE THOSE ADULTS THINKING??? They should have moved her! Even writing this now, stirs up all those childish emotions and makes me realise that this was when I began to realise the world was not always a friendly place!