There are some dates which stick in your head and today will always be Maria O’Neill’s birthday. It was practically the first thing I thought of when jumped out of bed this morning, apart from wondering what exactly the kids were up to in the lounge room.
Maria O’Neill would have been my best friend at primary school at St Mary’s, Ararat. She was the oldest of five (she had two sisters and two brothers), which was a fairly standard-sized family in Ararat in the 1970s.She was very fair, had lots of freckles, a gap between her two front teeth, and was a fast runner- well she was faster than I was at any rate. She could also play the piano and liked to read.
When we went to secondary school, we were placed in different classes and the friendship was never quite the same after that. I lost touch with her when I moved to Geelong in the 1980s, but through a mutual friend, I found out she had studied hospital records management and had been working in Alice Springs.
It’s funny how there are some things about a friend which can stay with you long after they have been in your life.
Wherever she is, I hope she is having a happy birthday.