IF Gabrielle would just stop buzzing around the house then her mother could hold her in her arms forever and every muscle in her body could relax and the universe could pause for eternity because it knows Louise Upton’s love for her daughter is a force far greater than something as intangible and uncertain as a child’s destiny.
This morning, Gabrielle can’t wait to go to boarding school. She has already neatly transferred into her diary all of the events of her first semester at The Glennie School, a 105-year-old private Anglican allgirls primary and secondary school 580km away in Toowoomba, in south-east Queensland’s lush Darling Downs, where Gabrielle will spend the next five years of her life sharing accommodation with 170 other boarders from towns and properties in western and northern Queensland and northern NSW. The 832 students of Glennie represent almost a quarter of the population of her home town.
Jon Doust was sent off at age 11, in 1961, to spend five years away from house and home.
He did all right, kept notes, wrote a book, but his mother told him just before she died: “I cried every day for five weeks after each one of you boys went back to school.”
Betty Doust had four boys. That’s a lot of crying.
Two weeks before she died she said to Jon: “I wasn’t much of a mother, was I.”
To read the full story in The Weekend Australian, click here.
And to read the follow up letters to the editor, click here.