I was tempted to reply to all, but resisted and am now writing only to you. But look, I just have to put this on my blog!
I am so moved by this work!
I remember visiting the Edwards Estate on the Murray River with you so many years ago. I was so moved by your warm relationship to the family, and almost jealous that I could not see the whole house. (I remember you mentioned that they had been robbed and had thus become suspicious of strangers and I was unfortunately a stranger.) Yet Mrs Edwards still cooked us a meal and it was the first time I had carrots cooked in a microwave!
You mentioned how John had told you about his time in boarding school and insisted that his parents still loved him, even though they sent him away to school. I will never forget that conversation. I had read many books about kids growing up and going to boarding school and it had not occurred to me that some people might consider boarding school a convenient way to “take care of” or “get rid of” the children. I myself really enjoyed going to camp when I was growing up and where other children cried when their parents left them there, I cried at the end of camp when we had to go home again.
Somehow I think this conversation could have been at the back of my head when I sent my kids to the Vienna Boys Choir. Now the youngest of our five boys is on tour in Japan with his older brother who is completing his fourth year in the choir. Even though Godwin initially complained when he was in the choir at first, he was the first to admit that it was an incredibly valuable time and he missed it when it was over. Each of his four younger brothers decided for themselves that they wanted to go to the Vienna Boys Choir too – which meant five years of boarding school, one year in grade four and then the four years grammar school while in the choir.
I am currently teaching English at an Austrian ski resort town “Kitzbühel” which is also the site of the Austrian Open next week. It’s like a working holiday for me and after the initial three weeks of incredibly time consuming preparation work, I hope the next two weeks will allow a little more time for sight-seeing.
Thanks for the photos!
With warm wishes
mit freundliche Gruessen
Memorial village and boarding schools