Most of us look back fondly on our childhood and I have wonderful memories of growing up in Grace Street with an amazing group of friends. Over the years I lost contact with a lot of these friends, but it doesn’t change the memories that I have of them, and I kind of like that they’re frozen in time.
I received the tragic news last week that one of my childhood friends, Simone, disappeared and human remains believed to be hers have recently been located. This is hard to fathom when my memories of her are as a pre-teen playing with her dogs and eating condensed milk (we used to eat it out of the tin back in the day). Unfortunately life can take some truly awful turns and my heart goes out to Simone’s family and her two young sons.
I understand that the final years of Simone’s life may not have been her best, but that is not how I remember my childhood friend and I am fortunate to have treasured memories of the fun times that we had. Simone has two sons and I think it’s important that they know about their mum when she was a child, and a friend to many. We are often told that it is not the dates on a headstone that matter, but the ‘dash’ in between, and that is certainly true. We should not only think of how a person was in adulthood, but also how they were as a child and a friend. These are my memories of Simone.
Simone’s family had a flock of pigeons, which would fly in formation over our street each afternoon. We found it incredible that they didn’t try to fly away and every time I see a pigeon now I am reminded of these ones.
There is no doubt that, being the only daughter, Simone was gifted with everything she could possibly want and she generously shared this with my sisters and I. Simone would go to the Royal Melbourne Show each year and bring home just about every show bag they had, and would invite us over to share the Bertie Beetles with her.
She was an avid dancer, and her costumes were incredible. I would attend some of the concerts with her and we would spend most of our time running around the hall before she had to get her hair and make up done. She leaped into any task with a huge smile on her face – she thoroughly enjoyed life.
There was the time her parents hired a spa, I can’t remember what party this was for or if it was simply because they felt like it, but we had so much fun in that spa! Even when our skin was wrinkly and we were freezing cold we didn’t want to get out.
Simone had a kind nature and absolutely loved animals. Her small dogs had pups and she hated the thought of giving them away, they became her babies. We would play for hours with those pups that would share a bed with Simone. When a dear school friend of mine passed away at age 12, Simone was there for me. I can recall one time when a song came on the radio that was played at my friend’s funeral and Simone was quick to change the station as she knew it would upset me.
We spent most of our time outdoors (until Simone got a Sega and we obsessed over Sonic the Hedgehog), riding our bikes at ‘the jump’ – the block of land down the street that we turned into a bmx track – or at the park swinging as high as we possibly could on the swings.
I imagine that those who knew Simone as an adult would probably say that her caring and fun loving nature carried into adulthood. This is how I will remember Simone.
Simone’s family have organized a fundraiser for her young boys to access when they are 21. You can donate to the cause here.