First Love

I first fell in love at the age of seven. Her name was Gail, Gail Holt. She was nine at the time, a whole two years older than me. We attended the same primary school at Campsie in Sydney.

Coincidentally, Gail’s grandparents owned a holiday cottage right next door to my own grandparents cottage at Sandy Beach, Clontarf, right on Middle Harbour in Sydney – opposite the Spit Bridge.

I was totally bedazzled by both the harbour and Gail. I remember trying to kiss her a number of times, but for some reason she repelled me. We spent many a weekend and several school holidays together at Sandy Beach, getting up to all sorts of mischief with some of the other local kids. I distinctly remember one very annoying boy named Stan. I found out many years later that he was Stan Zemanick, the right-wing shock jock who died last year. He hadn’t changed.

Recently I got in touch with Gail again. She is married and has spent the last 35 years living in New Zealand. Gail has six grandchildren. Email has allowed me to regularly correspond, and it’s like the intermediate years didn’t exist. We can and do talk about anything and everything, and so honestly. Much of it is about the Sandy Beach memories. We seem to have so readily re-connected in a way that fills us both with joy. I now completely understand my initial attraction to Gail. She is a soul mate.

It’s funny how those childhood connections remain so strong and can be so easily re-established. I don’t think we ever have any better friends than those of our childhood.

I have vowed to make sure that this is not the last of my firsts that I revist.

Geoff Mooney