Birds of a Feather: Where are they now ?

Hills to Hawkesbury Living Magazine - - Community News - Story and pho­tos by Carmel Lid­dell

Mur­ray Farm Pub­lic School’s motto ‘A Great Place to Be’, cer­tainly rang true for re­tired pri­mary school teach­ers, Robyn Burt and Joan Stam­mers. Their as­so­ci­a­tion, which be­gan in the staffroom thirty years ago, begs the ques­tion: what makes for an en­dur­ing friend­ship? In the case of Robyn and Joan, the an­swer lies in the 16th cen­tury proverb: birds of a feather…

Though born and raised half a world away, (Robyn in Mel­bourne and Joan in York­shire), both de­vel­oped a thirst for knowl­edge and be­came teach­ers. To­day, after many years spent jug­gling ca­reers and fam­ily lives, ‘Mrs Burt and Mrs Stam­mers’ have lost none of their won­der of words or in­ter­est in learn­ing. They’re mem­bers

of the same writer’s club. They play scrab­ble and of­ten browse through the dic­tionary - for fun. (Who knew that an ap­ple chog is the core of the fruit?) Robyn still teaches. She’s a vol­un­teer

Py­jama An­gel, and for sev­eral years has been help­ing a 15 year old fos­ter child with his read­ing. Joan is a pub­lished story writer and poet. Her ren­di­tion of ‘The Lion and Al­bert’ by Mar­riot Edgar - in her York­shire ac­cent – is an ab­so­lute de­light. And if called upon, Joan can re­cite all verses of Robert Brown­ing’s ‘The Pied Piper of Hamelin.’ Both women are his­tory and gar­den buffs too, which prompted them to join the Fo­cus on His­tory Bus Group at Learn­ing in the Hills, Baulkham Hills. On the 18th Septem­ber, their first ex­cur­sion, Robyn and Joan were

warmly wel­comed aboard the coach. Bus group ‘reg­u­lars’ had the rou­tine down pat. They’d brought lunch, the odd ther­mos - and they knew the lo­ca­tion of clean com­fort stops along the way! Vol­un­teer driver Norm, eased in be­hind the wheel. Their des­ti­na­tion? The Tulip Fes­ti­val in Bowral. And the

teach­ers’ re­port? A great day in per­fect weather! Though the an­tic­i­pated dis­play of 75,000 tulips and 15,000 an­nu­als were not wholly in bloom there’s al­ways next year…

So, where are they now - your chil­dren’s ‘old pri­mary school teach­ers’? Per­haps like ‘Mrs Burt and Mrs Stam­mers’ they’ve re­tired. Per­haps like Robyn and Joan, they’re thriv­ing on more ‘per­sonal de­vel­op­ment’ - still learn­ing - and still laugh­ing!

Left to Right is of Robyn, Norm then Joan

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