Who is Amanda Hoffmann?
I remember asking myself that very question.
I was conceived out of wedlock by a mother who was only “just” out of school. My father and mother made the “better” choice to marry, and I was born some six months later.
Oldest chld out of three, a younger sister and brother, we grew up in Kingston, Queensland. We lived in a housing commission area.
In the early years there were very few houses in our street. Our neighbors were cattle, horses and little Bilby’s that dug small holes in our backyard. We were privileged to have the Australian bush just on our doorstep with access to the house on a grated dirt road.
Every house back then had a “thunderbox” in their backyard. If you needed to go to the toilet, you had to wake your parents up, grab a torch, unlock the back door and walk into the dark.
In the mind of a little girl, it was an adventure each and every time. With unknown dangers awaiting you …
I can say that the Australian hit called Redback on the toilet seat was NOT just an Australia poem or song….it is a real life Australian problem! Not to mention cockroaches, daddy long legs, huntsman spiders, snakes and cane toads….let’s just say, you really NEEDED to GO to venture outside in the dark.
Early memories of school were many…. but not the kind you would think.
* I remember having to wear boy’s underwear, because I was sliding in the mud with all the guys and was saturated from head to food with mud. I arrived shivering into the school office, after the admin shook their head and rolled their eyes, the only change of underwear they had were boys underpants.
* I recall a female teacher screaming at me and shaking with terror. Why? I was casually swinging a baby brown snake in my usual mischievous fashion.
* How the girls yelled and protested as I entered the change rooms in 3rd grade swimming lessons because they all thought I was a boy.
* I recall with fondness, my all time favourite teacher Mr Stewart, his red eyes and the constant woody smell of his pipe that hung from his lips in class. The smoke lingered even after he tapped it against his palm and placed it down to recite Banjo Paterson’s “Their eyes were dull, their heads were flat, they had no brains at all”. Signifying that no one had put their hands up to answer a question.
* I was a tomboy, but clearly recall the humiliation of being one of the first to wear a bra and have my monthly’s at the tender age of ten years old.
* The envy of my school mates and my indifference when I was ordered by my mum to shave my legs at the age of twelve because my legs were really hairy.
* I remember admiring the grace of my school friend Melanie Armstrong, who “loved” Olivia Newton John. She could sing and dance to all her music in perfect pitch and time. Tracey Reeves and I would dance, laugh and dream along with her.
* Christine Moore, Toni and I would sneak out of the school grounds to walk across the road to Christine’s house to have lunch. Sometimes….I was even allowed to stay over and play in the afternoon after school…..good days.
These are some of my earliest memories….
Who am I? I am a lover of learning, networking, helping solve problems and a devoted mother to my four children.
However, I will admit to feeling as if I have lived a thousand lives, because that is how I feel…..