I know that you will all think I’m lying for sure, but I will admit that lately my thought processes have revolved around me me me, and as such, my writing capabilities are restricted to, well, me.
Case and point: while writing a paper yesterday, I defined the word (as was the assignment) “spank”. Today, my professor emailed me to tell me how much he liked my commentary on the different household applianced that could be used for a good hiding, including the slipper- my mother’s weapon of choice.
The Americans have a saying (and as it usually goes with the Americans, it’s short and leaves the unsuspecting foreigner quite puzzled): TMI. Which means, Too Much Information. Apparently my filter is not functioning.
Anyway, I am sitting here with the intent of writing a few children’s book manuscripts that do not, preferably, include abduction, terrorism, poo and lying, but all I seem competent of is revisiting my childhood.
And so, it’s story time!
HOLLIE’S FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL. EVER.
Before I begin, I would like to make you all aware that the day I will soon recount marked the first day of my near seventeen year love affair with education. If I’m honest, the last year has been rocky and we’re thinking of breaking up (but we probably won’t, for the sake of the degrees etc). Regardless: this “first day” was the first of nine first days- and that’s nine schools, not nine grade beginnings etc. Are you sympathetic yet?
I don’t recall the weather or anything like that. I wasn’t nervous, as most other “first day’s” seemed to go, just excited. Mum did my hair as she always did, but the vibrant and pretty bows were put away for less serious matters. I had a uniform. I wore knee socks, a grey skirt, a pale blue button up shirt with stiff cuffs, a navy blue striped tie and a cardigan. My shoes were new: black and polished from Clark’s. Daddy helped my with my tie and Mum took a barrage of photographs, standing by the stone fireplace, and outside too.
I didn’t let go of my lunchbox until I arrived at the cloak room at the school. It strikes me how funny it is that they call it a cloak room. I guess the British cling to the old more than I’d expect. My peg had my name above it. I hung my coat (which was long and made me feel like an elegant lady) and placed my blue plastic lunch box on the bench underneath it.
The Mums stayed with us for a while as we all got our bearings. I can’t say that I remember too much about this chaotic part of the day, except for a very brief flash of panic when she bent down to tell me had to go now, and I should have fun and make friends. My attention was on the sand pit that my hands were buried in.
My teacher was Mrs. Booth, which made Alastair laugh because it sounded to him like “boob”. We sat on the carpet around her chair and of course I can’t remember what she said or taught or read. I can just tell you that the letters of the alphabet were pasted to the wall above her head and I sat next to a girl named Janine Brown. She had a thick fringe and her blue shirt collar was askew. She wasn’t as neat as me.
I wonder if elementary school teachers have the ability to see a child and just know how they will turn out. I suppose that’s a very rude and insensitive thing to say- especially as, when I think about it, the likelihood of that teacher truly knowing how their little students turn out is not very great. So I guess my question is- how judgmental do you reckon these grade school teachers are?
St. Chads Primary School lasted a year and a half- the highlights of which include me playing the Queen in the class presentation of Dick Whitington and His Cat (my lines were “A cat? What is a cat?!” and “Oh, Captain! We MUST have that cat!”), my first boyfriend by the name of Christopher (or something like that), beating everyone in running on sports day, painting a blossom tree in Mrs. Faulkner’s class, and remembering that the floor in the assembly hall was made of wooden slabs. I also remember playing the letter “L” in another class play which was all about the alphabet- which I praise my parents for sitting through.
It was probably the best of all the “first days”. The worst was John Bamford’s Primary school, when Melanie Burton, surrounded by the other girls in the class, smugly looked around and announced “all those here who have been at John Bamford’s since Reception class, raise your hand.” Yes, I was the only one who couldn’t raise my hand, and yes, that made me feel like I was the most tragic girl in the universe. But That’s another story.
A couple of disclaimers: firstly, my mother very rarely used her slipper. She just threatened us with it, really. I don’t think Logan or Connor could tell you a single time they ever saw it. Alastair could probably tell you some stories though! Secondly, Melanie- if you’re reading this, please know that I really don’t care about how rude you were to me on my first day of school. I mean, I cared a great deal then, and it made me not want to go to school ever again, but I’m over it now. Completely.