John Marsden Writing Topic #301


Encore—Volume III

You are cordially invited to the reunion of GoGirls! at the Worthington Function Centre on Saturday September 13th 2025. Please RSVP to Mrs Valerie Morganside by Friday August 14th and inform her of whether you will be bringing along your spouse and/or family members.


Marilyn Hollows—younger sister of Geraldine Hollows, GoGirls! Drummer and Co-Leader


I was surprised when I got the invite, it’s been so long since Geri died.

I always wanted to be like her, she was three years older than me and seemed so much cooler. She and the drums were a perfect fit, they were pretty much an extension of her. What made it even better was her best friend, Mel Shaughnessy, it’s as if they and their instruments were a perfect match. While they generally got along with everyone in high school, they were always popular at every Battle of the Bands to the point that they won every Battle until they finished school.

I remember when she saw the advertisement for the GoGirls! Band auditions. She was excited and determined to go for it, yet she was nervous. Sure you could argue that every musician would be nervous before a big audition, but you’d be surprised if you ever witnessed her stage presence. That was the biggest contradiction and noticeable feature about her—she loved performing but didn’t love being centre stage. She also knew what she wanted but she wasn’t demanding. Luckily Paris and Valerie saw that in her and embraced it. She and Mel got in without any trouble.

It was a rocky start for them, but once their album went Platinum everything changed. They made it and that meant Geri wasn’t around anymore. In all honesty, it felt like I didn’t have a sister sometimes, I said that to her once when I was mad at her and I still regret it to this day. I didn’t realise until later how much the fame took a toll on her, especially when Paris left and she had to take over as the leader. She could handle it, but I knew sometimes she didn’t want to.

After five years together, not doing as well on the charts, and all the girls grown up and ready to move on, especially Mel getting married and expecting a baby, Geri knew it was over. She was sad but relieved. The GoGirls! played their last gig a month before Mel’s wedding where Geri was more than happy to be a bridesmaid.

Geri never abandoned her drumming but she didn’t want to be part of a band at the same level as GoGirls! She liked doing pub gigs on the weekends with her friends from uni. You wouldn’t think that five medical students would mesh well as a band or have time, but they always made it. One thing that time didn’t accommodate for was Mel, with Geri studying to be a doctor and Mel married with a beautiful little girl, Rosemary, they drifted apart.

Geri managed to graduate top of her class and ended up working at a great hospital, but it wouldn’t be long before she became a patient herself and stayed that way—her mentor found the tumour on her brain when she was 35—inoperable. She had enough time and function to write letters to all the girls, and to make up with Mel. She only lasted a year after that, dying on August 12th 2014. I never thought she’d die so young and I didn’t want to see it.

I saw Mel and Rosemary (she goes by her middle name, Lauren, now) from time to time, but it was hard. She was really Geri’s friend, not mine, and whenever I saw her, I was reminded of Geri, and it was too painful.

Last year marked ten years since Geri’s death, it doesn’t feel that long. I’ve moved forward with my life but now I feel is a good time to revisit the best times of Geri’s life. I wonder what I’ll find out about her that I never knew.

I heard this expression countless times at Geri’s funeral—“as long as we remember a person, they’re not really gone.”  I hated hearing this so many times at her funeral, in all honesty they were just empty words to me from people who didn’t know what to say. Now, with this reunion coming up, I truly appreciate them. I hope Geri’s never been gone for them.





**Reference: Marsden J 1998, Everything I Know About Writing, Pan Macmillan, Australia.

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