history’s still a mystery
read the First Chapter
The four friends were Matt, Nicky, Ben and Kris. They had just finished Year 6 at Coolongewong Primary School with Mr Mac. He was the absolute legend teacher in their school and they had been in his class for the last two years.
“I want to go to Scotland and meet Braveheart,” announced Ben after a brief hallo when they met down by the river.
“Who is Braveheart when he’s at home?” asked Kris. She had never heard of him.
“I saw the movie in the holidays,” he explained. “His real name was William Wallace and he was a big-time Scottish hero who fought against the English.”
“Didn’t Mel Gibson star in the movie?” chipped in Matt.
“Yep, that’s right,” answered Ben. “Did you see the movie, Matt?”
“No, but I want to. Is that okay with you girls if we go there? I think I’d like that adventure.”
The girls said it was.
At the start of Year 5, they had discovered that, on the day of the new moon each month, they could go on the most amazing adventures back in time in Mr Mac’s magic classroom. Accidentally, they had discovered that by tripping on a creaky floorboard, crashing into the teacher’s desk and saying the magic words History’s a Mystery, they could go back and experience events in history as they were actually happening.
“What do you reckon was our best adventure last year, Matt?” asked Kris.
“Oh! That’s a hard one! They were all so good…Let me think…”
“I can tell you mine,” said Ben. Then, not waiting for anyone else to speak, he continued. “I liked the dinosaurs and the cavemen the best.”
“Yeah, they were pretty good,” agreed Matt. “But I think I enjoyed meeting Sir Edmund Hillary on Mt Everest and Ned Kelly. Oh, and Davy Crockett.”
“What about you, Nicky?” Kris asked.
“My favourites were probably the Eiffel Tower and meeting Charles Darwin,” she answered. “How about you, Kris? What did you like best?”
“Um… maybe the Vikings and the Aztecs… I don’t know. They’re all so good.”
“Isn’t it weird how we all liked different adventures?” observed Matt.
“Yeah, but that’s good,” said Kris. “It just goes to show that between us we chose a good mix.”
The others agreed.
“Well, it looks like we might be able to have a few more adventures this year, thanks to Mr Mac’s suggestion,” said Nicky.
“If it works,” added Ben.
Mr Mac had suggested that they come back to his classroom after school on the day of the new moon (the only day the magic worked) every month, and see if their adventures could continue. This idea had pleased the four friends very much. No one, including Mr Mac, knew if this would work, but it was sure worth giving it a shot. The four friends would do practically anything to have more adventures back in time.
Therefore, although primary school had ended, they were looking forward to a number of things.
“What about you, Matt? What’s your first choice for this year?” Nicky asked.
“My choice is a lot closer to home. I’d like to go back and see the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.”
Ben looked at his friend and frowned. “Why?”
“Because I think it would be good,” answered Matt. “It’s an Australian icon and I figure it would be cool to be there when it was first opened.”
“I agree,” said Kris. “It sounds like a nice, safe adventure and one where we will learn a bit more about our own history. It’s a good idea, Matt.”
Nicky nodded, so Ben had to go along. However, he wasn’t really worried. All their adventures were good and they had just agreed to his Braveheart idea.
“What’s your adventure to be, Kris?” Ben asked.
“I would like to go back and see the Great Wall of China being built.”
“Yes! Way to go! That would be heaps cool!” This adventure sounded much more like fun to Ben.
“Good, Kris,” said Matt. “And Nicky, what about you?”
“My choice is closer to home as well,” Nicky answered. “I would like to see Cathy Freeman win her gold medal at the Sydney Olympics.”
Kris looked at her and frowned. “That’s not very far back in time. Do you think that it will be possible?”
Nicky shrugged. “I don’t know. But I’d like to try.”
The others were not sure whether Nicky’s choice would be possible either. However, they agreed to give it a go.
“Maybe you should think up a back-up just in case it doesn’t work,” suggested Matt.
Nicky agreed to this, so the first four adventures of the year were set. After the four of them played a few games of Scissors, Paper and Rock it was decided that Ben’s adventure would be the first.
At the start of the holidays, Matt had gone to Brisbane with his mum and dad and his two younger sisters, Olivia and Megan. This was where his grandparents lived and they always went up to see them at Christmas time.
Kris spent Christmas with her dad, his new wife Jo and their baby daughter, Amelie, in Sydney. Kris had always longed for a brother or sister and so loved having a baby sister at last. She and Jo had become good friends and Kris just adored Amelie, who everyone called Milly.
Both Matt and Kris’ families were back in Coolongewong in time for the big wedding. Nicky’s dad was marrying Ben’s mum. Paul and Linda had started seeing each other about a year ago and things quickly developed between them. Nicky liked to take a little of the credit for this, as she believed she planned the matchmaking. However, it probably would have happened anyway. Paul and Linda were really well suited and very much in love. And this couldn’t have pleased Ben and Nicky more. Ben and Nicky were best mates. So to have their parents get married was just perfect. Now they would all live together and be a real family.
When Matt and Kris had arrived back in Coolongewong, the four friends had agreed to meet together down by the river. Matt and Kris were the first to arrive and this suited Kris. There was something she wanted to say, and she decided to do it as soon as she had Matt alone. They were sitting together in the long grass beside the river, comfortable in each other’s company, when Kris began.
“Matt,” she said.
Matt looked at her expectantly.
“I’ve been doing a lot of thinking while I’ve been in Sydney, so I just have to say it. I really don’t want to be your actual girlfriend anymore.”
Matt’s face fell and he looked devastated. Then Kris went on, “But you’re my best friend and I want to keep it that way. I love spending time with you and talking to you about all sorts of things… I just don’t feel I’m ready for anything more than that just yet.”
Matt nodded. After a while he said, “I kinda feel the same way, Kris.
I like you more than any other girl I know. I can talk to you about all
sorts of things. But I’m happy just to stay as good friends, too.”
Then, with that difficult conversation out of the way, they started talking about something much easier: more adventures back in time. Soon Ben and Nicky joined them. -o0o-
Matt’s family, as well as Kris and her mum, Mrs Foster, had received invitations to the wedding. Mrs Foster was Paul’s boss out at the Wollendidgee National Park. The four friends’ parents all enjoyed each other’s company, so the wedding promised to be a great night. Ben was to be the best man and Nicky the bridesmaid, with both of them being witnesses at the ceremony.
The afternoon of the wedding was hot and dry, just as expected. Paul and Linda exchanged their vows in a beautiful shady glen in the national park then everyone came back to Coolongewong for an informal barbeque. A pig had been slowly roasting on a spit all day and the aroma made everyone hungry. The party continued into the early hours of the morning.
Part of the wedding plans had been for Ben to spend the two weeks following the wedding with Matt and his family, while Nicky stayed with Kris and her mum. This allowed the newlyweds to have a honeymoon. However, Paul and Linda had surprised Ben and Nicky on Christmas morning. Sealed in two envelopes under the tree were airline tickets for them both, dated one week later than Paul and Linda’s flights. This meant that Ben and Nicky would have one week with their friends, then a week with their parents on Lord Howe Island! They were thrilled!
During that first week when Paul and Linda were away, Mrs Foster and Mrs Roberts, who was Matt’s mum, took the four friends into Orange to buy their new uniforms for high school. The four also had plenty of free time back in Coolongewong to meet down at the river for swims, or just to lie around chatting. Of course, the topic they chatted about most was their adventures back in time.
The last couple of weeks of the holidays sped past. Ben and Nicky took off to Lord Howe Island and had a great time. Kris returned to Sydney for another week with Milly, and Matt kept himself amused fishing in the river while his friends were away. Matt quite enjoyed his own company and spent a lot of time daydreaming about events and people in history. He liked doing that.
Soon it was time to start school.