You know how school days often come back in our memory as fun days, days of mayhem and mischief, of some important school-learning as well as life-learning through our experiences. But mostly the memories are about the friends we made, or didn’t make, whilst we spent our days at school.
My school days memories are mostly about events. Special events, terrible events, happy events and some events I’d like to forget, absolutely. These events I remember as they were made with other people, school friends, and what it was that we did during the event, and sometimes what happened afterwards, being the consequences of some mischievous events!
Primary school days were interesting for me. My mother had just got married again and, in that process, I had gained a new ‘father’ and step-brother who was the same age as me. New place, new home, new people, new ways of being, with all the adjustments that takes, wasn’t easy. However, being ever the explorer, ever interested in new experiences, I turned this new situation into an adventure.
The biggest adventure of all at that time was going to the local primary school, Bell Street State. This was approximately a five minute walk, if we hurried, and my new step-brother and I walked there together each morning. It was a mixed school, meaning both boys and girls attended, which was fine by me as I had made many friends of both sexes during my immigration camp days. What would I see? What could I expect? Would I make any new friends? What were the teachers going to be like? All these questions, and more, ran around my head as we walked to school on my first day. Satchel on my back with lunch and some books and writing utensils and dressed in a most unflattering dress, if I remember rightly! Hair short, the way my mother liked it! Looking like a boy in a dress (the middle picture in the album cover below)!
How I looked didn’t matter….I did make lots of friends eventually, but, during this time, I found the friends I made were mostly girls! How well did I do at schooling? Well, not very well; I was more interested in sport and made many friends that way as it was an activity I thoroughly enjoyed and was good at, and as my English was quite poor then it seemed to me that this language barrier didn’t matter, as I felt included nevertheless; perhaps the girls felt sorry for me and wanted me to be a part of the group. The teachers certainly understood and were very patient with me, especially the beloved Mr Wood. Things improved when I went to secondary school.
Secondary school days found me surrounded by nothing but girls! Yes, it was an all-girl school, academic in its notions, and being taught by nuns! Again, new place, new faces, no-one I knew, like visiting a new planet. And, I suppose it was in its own way – Planet Feminine – being taught Planet Masculine ways of thinking and being. Did I like it there? Well, yes and no. But, that’s another story for another day.
Here’s a small album of some photos from those schooldays, and all of girls. I think we’re an interesting bunch, if I may say so. Yes, there are four pix of me therein; try and guess which…I don’t think it will be easy! All the photos that don’t have me in it were taken by me using my Kodak Box Brownie camera.
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