I spent a glorious sunny Saturday by the sea, with some very old school friends. When I say old, I don’t mean in age. We like to think of ourselves as’ in our prime.’
The five of us went to school together. Two of us met in the infants, a couple more added to the group at juniors and the last friend joined us at secondary school. Strolling along the cliff top that afternoon, partners tagged along whilst we reminisced.
If only we’d realised during those school years, how much of the life we were leading then, would actually shape the adults we would became. We have all done quite different things with our lives. We move within a different social group to that of our parents. But when we come together, we still seem to be who we were back in 1969 at the start of secondary school. Or maybe we just morph into the right piece to fit the jigsaw at the time.
“Do you remember Sandra Law’s older brother?”
“Oh my God, Martin; how could we forget? He was gorgeous.”
“Yes, literally, tall dark and handsome.”
“Remember how we use to take the long way to school, just to see him at the bus stop?”
We all took a moment, just to...sigh!
“Of course you do realise by now he will be close to 70, will have very little hair and his teeth may not all be his own.” We laughed hysterically. The men looked on bemused.
It’s interesting how some of our memories can be quite individual. Like a ghost, it can be just a trace of what was. But it appears to each of us in a slightly different way.
Our school was in a notoriously rough area of town. The front page of the local newspaper was not complete without a story about the troublesome comprehensive. They, perhaps foolishly, decided to hold a disco one evening. We didn’t all attend, but each of us had a story to tell about the knock on effect of the fight that broke out. Of how a teacher had to lock himself in the staffroom with Carl, the boy at the centre of it all, until the police arrived.
One friend, who knew Carl well, told us of his difficult childhood. This very intelligent boy went on to become a misfit. Another told of her fear as she was suppose to keep an eye on her younger brother and she had lost him in the crowd. Ten years later, I met the teacher who had tried to save Carl from certain physical harm by locking himself and Carl in the staffroom. The teacher never recovered from the trauma of the incident. He retired from teaching due to ill health.
It’s reflection that helps us to make sense of things. Better still if we can view the situation from different angles before drawing conclusions.
We remembered between us many more class mates. Some living the other side of the world, running multi million dollar businesses. Others spending time at her majesty’s pleasure. Then there are those who have left this earth’s plane far too early.
We are all now at that stage in life when time passes so quickly. Those things we were always going to do, we need to get on and do before it’s too late. There are some things however, we now have to accept will never happen. The infamous five can never replace “Hot gossip” on “Top of the Pops.” Ho hum!