Lawrence and I got into the Hillman, stamping our authority on the front seats and, therefore, the day’s activities. The girls were in the back, still wondering if they had made the right decision despite having made there many times before.
Baby Boomer confessions: Sowing my wild oats
The first stop was the liquor store to stock up on Emu Bitter and Craven A. The weed was already in the glove box with the Rizla papers and a box or two of matches. Next stop was City Beach, where we promptly buried the ‘king browns’ at the edge of the water in an attempt to keep them cold, not that it really mattered because we would drink them anyway.
Read more: Confessions of a Baby Boomer #2
The drive to the beach took about 45 minutes, time enough to smoke a joint, guzzle some cold beer, listen to Led Zep 4, while engaging in meaningless conversation designed to help keep the girls relaxed, less likely to lose their nerve and even less likely to want to go home.
It was about 9am and already 25C. It was probably hotter in the car given the lack of airconditioning and our intentions for the day. It was shaping up to be pretty good. And seriously, how could it be better than a few beers, a couple of joints, a swim and teenage sex. It absolutely couldn’t!!
In many ways it was a typical spring day for me when I was 17. Drop fifth-year form class, get crapped on for being late and not wearing uniform, then getting our names ticked off the attendance roll before jumping into the Hillman and getting into the real business of the day. That it was just six weeks until the university entrance exams was of no consideration, at least not for another fortnight.
It was spring and we felt alive, far too alive to ever be able to spend the day in a classroom, listening to a member of the establishment taking themselves far too seriously. We took nothing much seriously, with the exception of sucking full value from that spring feeling.
It was so long ago that Year 12, as it is known today, was still called Fifth Year, the final exams were still called the Leaving, university entrance exams were still called the Matriculation, and people still drove vehicles called the Hillman Hunter.
It was more than 40 years ago, but as Spencer Tracey’s character said in Stanley Kramer’s movie, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? (1967), 'the memories are there, clear, intact and indestructible, and they will be there if I live to be 110’.
I recall that Kramer’s movie (my favourite of all time) was also about young love and was shot in the spring. That said, I guess I am talking more about lust than love.
So yes, I remember that day, and dozens more from my teens, specially on those first few spring days of the year. You must have felt it, too .... that first clear 25C day with the sun enveloping you like a comfort blanket and rain little more than a distant memory. I believe these are the best days of all – the days when we all feel like sowing our wild oats.
Every time I feel that sun in the first few days of spring, I am taken back to those days wagging school and having sex in the sand hills. Else>>>an anything, I feel the optimism that I felt back then, that I could do anything and was bullet proof. It was a wonderful feeling and remains so.
I have not seen Lawrence since, other than during his short stint selling drugs out of our rental property when I was in first-year university. I occasionally wonder what has become of him.
I also have not seen the girls, or any of the others who came to the beach with us in those heady days. I occasionally wonder what became of them, too. Wherever they are, I am indebted to them for the memories they helped to create and for helping me to experience that spring feeling every year. It is a great gift they have given me.
The Hillman has been well and truly retired, as have the teachers who wondered where we were and had the decency to keep it to themselves.
The parents are also retired (one from life itself). They knew about it all, despite the teachers saying nothing, but pretended not to. So they also deserve a thankyou. They put up with a lot, including the worry associated with whether I would ever get over that spring feeling and do some work so I could get into uni.
I probably should be retired, but there is no chance of that happening so long as I continue to enjoy that feeling each spring.
It is spring again now, high time to sow those wild oats.