TOPICS: Dress for success

WE remember doing all we could to rebel against our school uniform (the unbuttoned look with white T-shirt underneath was a favourite), but these uni students have gone the other way.

Social work students Melissa Petruccelli, Ali Duncan and Nickie Shergold have dusted off their school dresses.

So has, erm, their friend Kynan Cliff, who’s been in uniform since the Mumford and Sons concert on the weekend.

Credit where it’s due: he’s got good legs. He reminds us of a cross between Ja’mie from Summer Heights High and one of the ladies at our school canteen.

The foursome are raising money for the One Girl initiative, which helps send kids from Sierra Leone to school. 

They’ve so far raised $600, which is enough to pay for the education of two girls. You can find out how to help at

Ja’mie would approve.

In search of one prayer

THE broad church of Topics readers has had a bit to say about  the new Port Stephens Council prayer, now with added Jesus.

Lake Maquarie City councillor Ken Paxinos feels we’ve thrown the Christians to the lions.

‘‘Those arguing against a prayer for wisdom and good governance as introduced by Port Stephens Council present not as non-believers, rather anti-believers,’’ he writes. 

Peter Rowney from Lemon Tree Passage would like us to cast more stones. Or reload our slingshot, or however the story goes.

‘‘Would Cr Dover feel the same about a prayer to Almighty Allah in Mohammed’s name or does she have some personal revelation that Jesus is the one true god?’’ writes Mr Rowney.

Reader Maree says religion and politics don’t mix. So do we.

Those bygone days

SHE’S 81 now, but you can tell Mary’s double act with her twin sister Margaret was a source of mischief in their teens.

The pair of doppelgangers caused double-takes in dance halls across Newcastle, including the Palais, in the late 1940s.

‘‘The boys would say ‘didn’t I just dance with you?’,’’ recalls Mary.

‘‘I’d say ‘no, that must have been someone else’.’’

The giveaway would usually be the fact that Margaret, who sadly passed away recently, was noticeably more shy than Mary.

This Topics writer, being of a generation that doesn’t remember the Palais so much as the fast-food monolith that replaced it, was keen to hear more about those nights.

How did teenagers back then hook up with each other?

Well, for Mary and Margaret at least, they would stand around on the dance floor with a group of girls. Then a lad would pluck up the courage to shuffle over.

‘‘The boy might tap you on the shoulder and say ‘may I have this dance?’’’ Mary tells us.

Could you say no? Sort of. Girls back then would politely say they’d promised the dance to someone else.

If a lad got a girl to agree to a waltz, then he could seal the deal.

‘‘During the dance he might ask where you live, and when he could see you again,’’ says Mary.

So there you go. How quaint. 

Did you, dear reader, ask or get asked on a date when you were young? Was it a sweaty experience? Let us know.

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