Saturday, 4 August 2007

School Days

I got a letter this morning - a real, bona fide letter - not a bill - with a handwritten envelope and everything. I opened it with a fair amount of excitement and discovered it to be a swish invitation to my school reunion. Properly printed on card and with the "RSVP" bit embossed no less. Someone's pushing the boat out somewhere - but how did they get my address? The answer came a couple of hours later when I got a phone call from Trudy, my oldest - make that only - friend I've kept up with from school. She was positively buzzing with excitement and told me that she had Tracey Harris had been working on this for "months!" They've sent out invitations to 150 of the 212 girls in our year - the Class of 1987.

I loved the first and second year of my secondary school - we inabited the Lower School - but I loved my third, fourth and fifth year even more. We were Upper School girls and used to laugh at the Lower School girls as being "stupid and naive". I don't think it ocurred to any of us that we had been laughed at in a similar way. I had some fantastic teachers: there was Miss Eaton who taught me maths and didn't mind if I got one or two questions wrong, Miss Molineux (we used to call her Blender) who taught French and used to smoke Gauloises behind the bike sheds, Mr Pollard who taught art and gave me an A for my abstract of a kettle, Mrs Evans who took us for geography and insisted that we call her "Gillian, Mrs Evans sounds far too stuffy" Mr Jefferies who took us for German and looked like Dempsey from Dempsey and Makepiece and Miss Jackson who took us for Biology and used to blush every time we used to do Sexual and Reproductive Health.

There were some awful ones too (as far as we were concerned anyway) - Mr Manoso who taught maths, he was Spanish and we couldn't understand him because he lisped and once threw a blackboard rubber at Monica Travis who promptly jumped out of the window - we were on the first floor. Ms Laslo, a French teacher who never washed her eye make-up off, she just added to it every day. By the end of term she used to have to throw her head back to open her eyes. And the worst ever, Mr Simons who taught English and who really shouldn't have worked in an all girls school. We had to read the love scene from Romeo and Juliet with him practically every lesson.

We had some, erm, eccentric teachers as well. Miss Williams took us for Music - she wore twinset and pearls, had an elegant up "do" and called us all "darling lovelies of mine". She'd trip around the classroom in her kitten heels singing so loudly along to whatever tune we were massacring at the time that Mr Hayes in the Science block used to lean out of the window and ask her to "shut up, my test tubes are rattling". Mr Hayes himself was a bit weird, he smelt constantly of sulphur and had a straggly beard that he stroked when he got excited about chemicals. Miss Baines, our Life Education teacher, was taken out of class one day by the police, mid lesson, because she'd been arrested for smuggling drugs. We never knew how or why but her photo was removed from the Teachers noticeboard pretty damn quick.

Trudy was not at all impressed with my reluctance to commit to attending the reunion on Saturday 1 September. Apparently, she and Tracey Harris (now Tracey Modeski) have worked "tirelessly and bloody hard" on getting us all together. Jessica Johnson (now married to an Australian surfer and living in Guildford) runs her own design and printing firm and did the invitations "at cost". It'll be held in the Assembly Hall (my one resounding memory of the Assembly Hall was during my French GCSE exam when the drains backed up and the place was full of raw sewage) and we'll have a tour of the school - it's been seriously tarted up since I was last there.

"When you think of all the fun we had, and won't it be great to see everyone again?" Trudy was still banging on. I admitted that it would, in a slightly strange way. "Desdemona's coming, so is Louise - you remember Louise? She set fire to the tree behind the Music Room." Memories were flooding back - giggling girlies meeting up with the lads from Forest Hill Boys before we were banned from going out at lunchtime. The lunches they provided hardly tempted us to stay in. As part of our media studies course we ran a radio station for a whole week from the secretary's office using the tannoy which upset Miss Pearson the School Secretary. The year after that we printed a newspaper with a stunning expose on what exactly went on in the staff room. We upset the rest of the teachers with that. Ah, happy days!

School's out for summer - I'll decide nearer the time.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm glad your experience of school was fun. I'm afraid I hated school. If I got a letter inviting me to a reunion, which I am 100% sure I won't because a)I never fit it with anyone and b)I've moved about 50 times since, but if I did, I would probably eat it and deny all knowledge.

Enjoyed reading about your school days. If you were 1987, does that mean you left in 1987?? Sorry, I suppose my lack of school input made a me little thick...!

Crystal xx

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I'm a mum of one, wife of one and owner to several dogs, a variety of breeds and sizes. I live in the up and coming area (or so they say) of Nunhead and have mad neighbours, strange friends and certifiable relatives. I shop locally, although I do defect to Sainsburys once a week - shoot me now local shopkeepers.