I still bite my nails, Roland.

After migrating to Australia in May, until December, 1956, I sat out 6th Grade, in three different primary schools, as we moved from migrant hostel to migrant hostel.
My I.Q. was tested (non-verbally) at the NSW Department of Education’s Head Office. The official told my mother (I needed to translate that for her) that my intelligence was above average. (I thought I saw it written down, in the career advisor’s book, at Maroubra Bay High School, as 108. That’s only JUST above average.)
After sixth grade, I was almost sent to South Sydney Technical Boys High, in Walsh Ave. Phew!! Thank goodness I wasn’t. (Although!!!! # see below.)
I am left-handed and I have two of them.
Beginning of 1957 I was enrolled at South Sydney Boys Junior High, in Randwick.
One of the boys, in my class there, intrigued me. He had flair. Pizaz!
His daughter writes elsewhere on the internet:

One of the duties of Class Captain was to control the class when no teacher was present. To keep the class quiet, he hypnotised one student. While the student was under hypnosis, a teacher walked by, and Roland was warned not to do it again. But on another occasion, when a teacher was absent, instead of hypnotising one person, he decided to hypnotise the whole class. When the headmaster walked past, and saw an entire class sleeping at their desks, it was clear the Roland was responsible, and he was asked to leave the school.

Roland tried to cure me of my nail-biting.

Stop me if you’ve read my account of this before (probably in Dutch!):

He invited me to his parents’ flat, in 3/142 Curlewis Street, Bondi Beach. So I caught the two buses and then the tram to Bondi Beach (Love that book!!!)
He sat me down in an easy chair. ( I remember that scene so vividly.) and asked me to close my eyes and then he commenced the process of hypnotising me.
“Close your eyes. Your eyes are getting heavy. You are feeling sleepy. You’re in a hammock”………
Sproing!! That stopped the whole process. From then on, I went along with it but explained afterwards that I had not really been under because my English vocabularly did not yet include: Hammock!!

That does not diminish my admiration for Roland’s talents.

While looking to stir up interest in a Maroubra Bay (Heartbreak-) High School Reunion, in 2009, to celebrate fifty years since that school was opened, I came across the name Roland Gridiger, via google.
I may not have known the word hammock but the name: Roland Gridiger just used to roll so easily off the tongue!

Come to the next reunion, Roland! I’d love to catch up. If my memory serves me correctly we may have been on the stage together, in the Randwick Town Hall, beside South Sydney Boys Junior High School.

( # The friend whom I asked to be best man at my wedding, attended South Sydney Technical (Boys only) High. Who knows? I might have got to know him earlier!)

POST SCRIPT: Have made email contact with Roland, here in Sydney, via a website in France. (I’m seeing lots and lots of connections again. After all, I visited my daughter in Paris, two years ago, before she returned to Sydney to resume her studies at UTS, where Roland’s daughter studies too.)

(Back of the photo:)

Currently unavailable for purchase

I still bite my nails, Roland. by 

Dina Gridiger wrote: he decided to hypnotise the whole class. When the headmaster walked past, and saw an entire class sleeping at their desks, it was clear the Roland was responsible, and he was asked to leave the school.



bay, gridiger, high, hypnosis, maroubra, roland, school

In 1969, I enrolled in the “Art Teachers Conversion Course”. It was my first experience of formal art lessons. Soon other interests prevailed, until, I had lunch, in Hazelhurst and then enjoyed the art classes there. Culminating in my exhibition, in 2008.

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  • Martin Derksema
    Martin Derksemaover 6 years ago

    Beautiful story. I love the sproing-part. Had to look up hammock. Hangmat, okay. I think it was not only the fact that this word was not in your English dictionary yet. I think hammock sounds a bit hard, as a tone. For me it sounds like a wake-up word. I hope he will come to the reunion. And thanks for sharing this memories.

  • Martin Derksema
    Martin Derksemaover 6 years ago

    Great to hear you have found him!

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