School holds mixed memories for me – 95% of the time I loved it, but it wasn’t all good. Some of you have heard me speak about my own journey, slaying dragons along the way, so you’ll know what I’m talking about.
Anyway, a couple of years ago I was invited back to talk to the sixth form – a chance to talk openly about my school days, and my career, and a chance to lay some demons to rest. I was then asked to join the school Development Board, engaging with parents, former pupils, the community, local businesses – and I love it!
My year (class of 1985) have never really kept in touch with the school, so I contacted those I’ve kept in touch with (thank you social media!) and we met on Saturday 29 April, at the school in Leamington Spa. 14 girls, all in their 50th year.
There was a lot of excitement and some nerves in advance – would we even recognise each other? Being able to share those feelings via our Facebook group eased the pressures. Within minutes of walking into the school, the atmosphere was joyous (and yes, we did recognise each other, after 32 years we haven’t really changed much).
Laughter, some sadness of course, hugs and tons of reminiscing.
Two of the sixth form came in on a Saturday to take us on a tour of the school. They had their hair loose and were wearing make up – shock horror! It was never like that in our day! Has school changed? In some ways – the electric guitars in the music room, the amazing artwork on display, the motivational quotes, the sports hall…but there, at the end of the corridor, were our science labs, exactly as they were when we left them. Like a time warp! Wooden parquet floors, wooden benches with Bunsen burners.
Our old French text books were there (The actual books! From the 1980s! With our names in them!)
And in the old gym, there was a pommel horse and a box (you’ll only know what those are if you’re of a certain age!).
We headed into the staff room – it felt so naughty! As we headed to what had been the head teacher’s office, we all looked for the traffic lights outside her room – and we all remembered sitting outside waiting to be summoned. And the main staircase; it may sound odd but we weren’t allowed to use those stairs until yesterday – not surprising how many of us were tempted to slide down the bannisters!
As we left school that afternoon (yes, to head to the pub) our art teacher was standing in the car park. Serendipidy? Perhaps.
For those who couldn’t make it, we missed you, thanks for being involved from a distance, for some of you that means the other side of the world.
We may have had some tough journeys since we were last together, in the days when hair was big and leg warmers fluorescent, but here were 14 girls with a shared history; smart, kind women who survived.