Monday, January 26, 2009

books, books and more books (and a special find too...)

This week I finally hit the mother lode... so large was the pile of unwanted encyclopaedias donated to the Rotary Club of Bega that I had to bring my long suffering Farmer Phil and his one tonne flat bed ute to collect them all...

I've been collecting unwanted encyclopaedias for a couple of years now - attending the twice annual Rotary Book Sale in Bega to snaffle them up.... I love when the Rotary members ask what is it I want to do with all these books... Farmer Phil just rolls his eyes skyward and mumurs something like 'she likes to see me flex my muscles' (this, I must say, is just a bonus)

In fact the large and growing stockpile of encyclopaedia have proved problematic for the Rotary - there isn't a huge demand for the old things (especially the Funk and Wagnalls or Colliers) - they are heavy to transport - and most have ended up in the skip...

this Rotary club member (Eric) had his shed filled up with them!

The ute load we collected this week equalled my tally at home - so I was totally thrilled.

Whilst rumaging around the shed, pointing to desired boxes (go use your brute strength dear..)
I stumbled over a small exercise book....

I'm sure most poeple would glance and move on- but this particular book stopped me in my tracks. I looked at the school badge 'BEGA HIGH SCHOOL' and the 'name' carefully written on the cover 'TAKAKO.M'.... I was stunned ~

I'm an ex-student of Bega High - I attended from 1979 to 1984 (yes you can rather easily guess my age from these dates). In 1982-83 the school hosted an exchange student from Japan - her name was Takako Miyamoto. As I looked at this little exercise book - lingering amongst the piles of unwanted books (the only little exercise book or like amongst the piles I must say...), I had no doubt that this was her book

My eyes welled as I was overcome with a wave of disbelief.

In the summer of 1983, just before she was due to go home, Takako drowned at Surf Beach in Narooma. It was, as you can imagine, a shocking tragedy - one that has remained vivid in my memory. I was elected a SRC (Student Representative Counsellor... or prefect) in 1983. One of the first duties that year was (along with fellow SRC) to officiate at the memorial service for Takako. I met her parents who flew out from Japan, and the Japanese Ambassador, numerous Australian MP's and more 'officials' from all levels than I care to remember .

The school under the direction of the SRC created a small rather lovely garden in Takako's honour (it's still there at Bega High - next to their hall... I wonder how many people know of its significance?)

I knew Takako from school - we had sport together. I remember her even today as a petite gorgeous creature with a ready giggle. I remember particularly her commenting on a pendant I used to wear - a chinese coin with a hole in the middle - I can't remember what she said, but I know she thought it was funny that I'd wear such a thing.

Finding that little book filled with Takako's 'english words' (her attempt to grasp the language) was a poignant and rather special moment.

It came home with me - the most special find.


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  2. I have just perused your site, and have thoroughly enjoyed your earlier blogs in particular “your arty beginnings” (I just had to click on that terrific photo of your mum, dad and you). Not only are you a very talented artist Rhonda, you write so eloquently and poignantly about your journey. I was particularly touched by your heartfelt account of both Gareth Long and Takako Miyamoto’s, life and death. Seeing that photograph of Takako’s high school ‘English-Word” exercise book sent shivers down my spine.

    All the best with the grand opening of 'Sams Creek Bookworks' - I'm certain it will be a huge success. Keep up the great work.

    Klaudia x


thanks for all your lovely comments - your words are greatly appreciated xx