The People You Meet and the Books You Read.

“You are who you are today because of the people you meet and the books you read”

Charlie Jones


Being able to get out and about is one of the great delights of home schooling. You are not restricted by the walls of a classroom and the restrictions placed on you by our modern obsession with ‘health and safety’.


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Our home schooling journey included many excursions, some special and ‘one off’ and others normal and ‘every day’. Life is for living and children are interested in the everyday life of their adult parents. I have mentioned elsewhere that we turned our weekly supermarket shopping trips into an investigation of prices and value for money in our local area. This was practical maths in action not to mention all the work that went into deciding which foods should be included in the survey. This project led on to a discussion of which goods are made in Australia and which companies are Australian owned. This led to an investigation into what goes into our processed foods and what affects these ingredients have on us. The boys got quite good at understanding what the various codes on the containers meant.

One of our regular journeys took us to Knox City Shopping Centre. Now, I’m not a big fan of shopping centres, and I never have been but this was where Dymocks book stores had a branch which stocked an extensive range of Star Trek books and our boys were avid readers in general and specifically of this series.


The staff and the owners got to know us very well and would often stock certain titles because they knew the boys would be interested.

Money was always tight at our house and being on one income didn’t help but we somehow found the money for books. We were so pleased that the boys enjoyed reading and we wanted to encourage them.

After a very pleasant time at Dymocks1 we would wander over to the food court for a sandwich and a drink.

Our favourite place was Cafe Navona where we were often served by an older waiter named Chris. Our boys named him ‘Farouk’ because he reminded them of a character from the movie “The Castle”.


Chris was always friendly and would spend some time talking to the boys and it got to the point that we would all look forward to seeing him and disappointment would set in if we turned up on his day off.

As the boys grew older and began their working lives we stopped visiting Knox City, or should I say that when we did go there we got in and out as fast as possible.

Amazingly the café is still there after all these years though the bookshop has gone (the ABC shop is the only bookshop left at Knox City). Naturally we were pleased to see that one of our old haunts was still in business so my wife and I stopped for refreshment. I spoke to the young lady who served us and tried to describe Chris to her and asked what had happened to him. She said that he had passed away a few years earlier.

I was surprised by how upset I was at hearing this news. Chris was only one story in our long adventure but I felt sad to think that he was no longer out there doing his thing.

I sent a message to Andrew and Matt letting them know that Chris had died but we have not had time to discuss him since. I’m not sure what their reaction was but I know that I am sad.

Chris was an important part of our journey and I would like to think that he is up there somewhere serving delicious sandwiches and teaching young people the value of gentle conversation.

Thanks Chris, you are remembered.


Terry Barca is the author of ‘SCHOOME: An Adventure in Home Schooling’

5 thoughts on “The People You Meet and the Books You Read.

  1. For years I used to go to the bookshop with my kids and the coffeeshop afterwards. I do believe that combination of food and books and excursion is a lot got to do with their enjoyment of reading. Sad to see bookshops go. And sad to see someone won`t be part of your lives again.


    • Thanks for taking the time to comment.
      Some change is good and some change leaves you with a little sadness. But at least we are still here and a little sadness (at least for me) reminds me to savour the people I have around me. Does that make sense? It’s a bit early in the day and one of my dogs is hogging my lap so I’m typing sideways! I’m also feeling guilty that it has taken so long to reply


      • Oh, I am all for change but us older wiser ones know the dangers of throwing the baby out with the bath water. As a bit of a bibliophile and with a dayjob that promotes literacy, I am watching the change with interest. It`s more than nostalgia for me, I am not convinced that losing books is the best way to go.
        Losing people is quite another matter. Inevitable, of course, but valuing their legacy is probably the best way to deal with the sadness.


  2. Terry, you are a philosopher and a gentleman!
    The small connections we make with the people we meet are an important part of humanity. I’m not being facetious when I say that, I really mean it. It’s little connections like that that make the world go round, and you and your family made a contribution 🙂


    • Thanks for taking the time to comment, and yes, I agree…….. those little things. My mum used to tell me that every interaction was important and that we can never know how important it may be. For a child that was a lot of pressure! I’m sure she said it so that I would not be too rambunctious when I was out and about (I was a typical little boy, all arms legs and mouth!). I remember thinking that it was kind of cool that a smile or a show of good manners could make a difference to a person’s day. Little things.


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