21st birthday nostalgia

I keep everything. Well, anything sentimental. You could call me a maximalist. I have too many memento boxes to count. Old cards, letters, event tickets, photographs, small gifts, buttons, name tags, conference lanyards and so forth. Every year or so, I love opening these boxes up to rediscover what lies within – they’re treasure chests that take me into other worlds. Some people are of the mindset you shouldn’t reconnect to your past – be free, let go. I agree, but sometimes we need to look back to see how far we’ve come. Sentimental objects ground me – they give me perspective on my evolution. They remind me of my roots.

So, while I was clearing out my study a couple of weeks ago, I came across a speech that one of my great friends delivered at my 21st birthday. I’ve been lucky enough to know Jessie since 1995, and recently celebrated her wedding with her. The speech is KK-focused, inflating and personal, but hey it’s to be expected in such a format, right?

Anyway, keeping with the internet’s sharing compulsion – I thought I would include it below. Enjoy the insight…

(I’ve added in some annotations in the square brackets.)

Kate’s been a busy girl over her 21 years. I’ve witnessed her “Australian Years” [I was born in the UK.], during which she has thrived in academic, social, sporting and home-making pursuits. These were as varied as irritating Ms Black in chemistry class, dominating the field in way too many sports and throwing some infamous parties at Bazza.

We all know she’s a smart cookie but Kate was also able to maintain her own amusement, as well as that of those around her, during the educational process. I think Kate’s antics will outlive the chemical structure of Nylon and the role of women in WW2 in our memories. Chemistry was never the same with Kate in the class.

Kate was also entertainment out of the classroom. She was accused of being a serial flirt during primary years because she preferred kicking the boy’s arses at handball to gossiping with the girls. Among Kate’s other playground pastimes were: matchmaking, teacher-impersonating, begging for chewing gum and student verse teacher soccer matches.

Though we were all proud of Kate’s deserved ascension to “Prefect Status”, it was a bit of a shame she had to exercise just enough restraint to stay on the good side of the powers that be.

I’d love to run you through Kate’s great sporting triumphs, but I was probably at home on the couch during the real shining moments. Kate was an inspiration (and a bloody psycho) on the hockey field, tennis court and soccer pitch. She was also an expert at delegating tasks during interhouse sport carnivals. Year after year I would be surprised to see my name listed for athletic and swimming events I didn’t recall volunteering for.

Other memorable moments include the time Kate requested early dismissal from class and when questioned by the teacher as to why, casually replied “Tuba lesson”– and got away with it! Must have been the natural charm.

To my knowledge Kate has aspired to enter such professions as dentistry, forensic pathology, tennis, medicine, fashion marketing and career eBayer. But I believe she’s really wrapped up in homewares at present. [I used to work at retail head office.] Borderline obsessive? Though I do enjoy discussing the threadcount of my sheets…

It may seem that Kate spends a lot on shopping, not only in her own workplace – love those employee discounts! – but where and whenever she gets the chance. However, Kate is actually quite a discerning shopper and has two fail-safe procedures to ensure she hasn’t wasted her hard-earned dosh on something she doesn’t actually want:

1) eBay resale  and
2) return

Anyway, enough about Kate’s quirks. She’s a genuine, often brutally honest, caring and motivated person. I’d call her an over-achiever but she doesn’t have that annoying personality to complete the image.

I’d like to say thanks for all the good times and generous gestures. And wish Kate all the very best of everything.

Happy 21st Katya! [Jessie’s Russian nickname for me.]

Do you have any speeches recorded on file? Or are they safely locked away in memories?

I’d love to venture back and be a fly on the wall at a special event in your life.

Happy Thursday,

Kate