“Are you planning something for Robbie’s day?” A friend private messaged me this question on Facebook a week ago. Planning something? My mind went into freefall. Planning something sounded grand, elaborate and meaningful; an event. Planning something sounded like an expectation to engage with the moment, the day, the past two years of finding a reason to get out of bed every day. I wasn’t planning anything except to just get through the day and stay as numb as possible. Keep it simple: connect with Robbie as I watch the iridescent orange Autumnal sunrise, do some weeding around Robbie’s fledgling Iron Bark tree where his ashes are; hang out with my daughter, my partner and Robbie’s Dad. What do you plan for your Son’s second memorial? Planning something? I had nothing.
Those words, planning something, have been reverberating around my head for a week. I wanted to do something special to mark the day, but what? Synchronicity came to the rescue. I received a postcard from Robbie’s friend in Arizona; they met at Uni. She was after a copy of the book Robbie wrote: ‘Extension ABC with Robby D’. She wanted to give it to her 1 year old Nephew and start reading it to him. She had a wonderful memory of when Robbie showed her this book and they cracked up laughing as they read through it together. It was a wonderful way for her to keep Robbie’s memory alive and share it with a new generation.
Robbie had written this book under duress for a Year 12 assignment. He thought it was a big joke. The task was to design and write a children’s book. English was never his favourite subject. He used Microsoft Word and inserted the scanned images of his hand-drawn illustrations.
To make the exercise bearable he played with his sense of the ridiculous and every page is drenched and dripping with alliteration. For example, the letter ‘H’: “Harry the hippo hopped over the house but didn’t hop high enough and hit the house hard. Harry hurt his head.” He wrote an alphabet book and called it “Extension ABC with Robby D”. He had to use the word “Extension” because he realised it was pretty advanced for a kid just starting out reading. He cleverly made a catchy rhyme in the title by shortening his last name, Davis, to just ‘D’. What is not obvious is why he spelt his name ‘Robby’ and not the usual ‘Robbie’. He had discovered that the website robbyd.com was a porn site! (Yes it still is. Yes I just checked. Yes I know you will too. They will wonder why the website hits suddenly spike on 4/4/14. Robbie will love that). As a teenage boy he of course thought this was hilarious, his own private joke, hence the switch in spelling to ‘Robby D’.
Back in 2008 when he wrote the book, I had just discovered online publishing. As a surprise I turned Robbie’s Word file into a printed book and ordered a few copies. They looked great. I was expectantly excited to see Robbie’s reaction. He was mortified! “Why would you do something like that Mum?” He took a copy to school as a joke to share with his mates. The teacher found it and contacted me. He thought it was a wonderful idea. The School asked for a couple of copies for the Library. I proudly distributed copies to family and friends. Robbie was again mortified!
I have just posted a printed copy to Robbie’s friend in Arizona. An idea emerged. I also purchased the PDF version of the book. After a discussion with Robbie’s sister and Dad we have decided we will make this PDF version available for YOU; all Robbie’s friends, family, anyone, anywhere to download a copy and share it with the little people that come into your life. What better way to keep Robbie’s memory alive. What better time to make this happen than on the second memorial of his death, Robbie’s Day 4 April 2014.
Note: This offer expired after a year. Robbie’s book is now available to purchase from the shop and instantly download as a PDF. Click here
Robbie Davis; Published Author. Not bad for a dyslexic kid who never read a whole book in his life.
It feels good. We planned something for Robbie’s Day … something for You.
Let me know if you would also like a printed version.
Keep sharing Robbie’s gift.