Kangaroos Loose in the Top Paddock

I went to grammar school in Melbourne, Australia. For some unknown reason, airline bags were the “in” thing to have. Looking back, this makes no sense. Why do 9-year-old children need to look like they spend their time jet setting around the world? Perhaps it was the one thing that stood out in a sea of grey uniforms. I had a BOAC bag that I proudly took to school each day. I also had a BOAC poster in my bedroom, perhaps again, to show my interest in international travel.

I came back to the U.S. when I started the 6th grade. This is the worst time to show up with an Australian accent. At that age, everyone wants to fit in. I was asked repeatedly in the halls to “say something.” I also sucked at American football. I had learned Aussie Rules Football. The rules are different, for example throwing the ball is not allowed and a player cannot get caught holding the ball. The first time I caught the ball on an American field, I immediately kicked it away. Not good I learned. I was Cracker Jack at cricket, but that skill was rather useless at Clayton Middle School in Reno, Nevada.

I continue to mix up English versus American spelling. But, by the time I reached high school, I lost my accent and knew that I could throw a football. And I didn't bring my BOAC flight bag to school.