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Back in 1975 I was a fresh faced young American teacher imported in the teacher airlifts by the Australian Government (free air ticket and 2 years tax-free salary - Whoo Hoo those were the days!)

Lola Russell was a famous Melbourne actress who at the time was teaching Drama at University High. I sub-let her 'upstairs and behind the shop' residence that was part of the Russell's Cafe while she was away on long service leave. She was 'old' then (I was 22 in 1975). The residence was amazing and filled with exquisite antiques as well as a crazy jumble of everything 'as is/was' from the gold rush days. The loo was outside and the place was overrun with alley cats. Being young and 'new in town' we had the greatest and wildest parties around her lovely antique rosewood claw footed table and with carefree abandon would 'accidently' smash her exquisite antique wine glasses during our revelry. Because our 'front door' opened out onto La Trobe St across from the Flagstaff Gardens many a homeless person would be found amongst the party debris as we would stagger downstairs the morning after... She even left us her Rover car in which we would pile friends and surfboards to head off on surfin' safaris... bless her soul! Aaahhh... those were the days. The folly of youth, not a care in the world, a great location and fun, fun, fun! (Late at night we'd sneak into the milk bar or whatever it was then and help ourselves to midnight snacks from the stock). I grew up, stayed on, became a responsible Australian citizen, married and had 3 wonderful Aussie kids who have all grown and flown. In fact all three are doin' the young Aussie thing and travelling and working in the USA - Go figure!

Regards Connie


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