Friday, 7 June 2013

My Old School

My first childhood recollection of school was of Jesus being put to death by crucifixion on a green hill far away without a city wall. Hardly surprising when you appreciate I was here:

Yesterday, I rediscovered the website of that first Primary School and looked through the various slide show galleries.  What held me most, were the external images of the building and the interior shots of the main hall. Notice the height from ground level of most of the windows - that no 5 to 9 year old could ever hope to see into or out of. The surrounding exterior of the school has changed quite a bit since I was there (between 1968 and 1972) but the main brick buildings remain largely unchanged. When I was a child, the part of the building shown below was for class one (left two arched windows) and class two (right two arched windows): 

Ignoring the pupils, the floor has not changed - albeit much lighter than it used to be: 

The PE aparatus (back wall) is new to me, but originally, on the left wall, was something similar made of wood - but two separate units.  From left to right on the ceiling was a slide assembly and a set of about 4 climbing ropes were pulled from the left wall to hang down in the centre of the hall. It was always very exciting when we had the opportunity to use that equipment.

The photo below is of me (right) and my brother (left). I endured a certain amount of teasing at school and to be honest, I might have teased myself with that look!

I made a couple of return visits, but never went in. I think it was probably during school holidays when no one was there - or I felt too shy to knock on the door. (The first 3 photos shown above were taken off the school website. The images with the cars were taken by me. The image of kids in the playground may have come from an original version of the school's website).

Going by my [at the time] wife's Astra Belmont, I'd say this visit was around 1999. When I attended the school, the field to the left (the big recky) was only ever used on very hot summer days and sports days. At other times of the year, we played in a smaller field (the little recky) behind the school at the end of the playground area (mentioned later). The green doors to the field were only ever opened on [memorable] special occasions:


I took this next photo (below) when I made my second visit. (The inclusion of my car dates this around 1998). This view (minus the flat-roofed porch) is pretty much as I remember things. The far right shows the entrance door to the then top '3rd year' classroom and you can also see the playground leading to the 'little recky' field. Just to the left, behind and out of site, were the outside school toilets. Popular school playground legend, when I was there, said that a witch used to live in the top attic room (small arched window above square window - tallest part of building in the corner). The windows with the pointed tops look into the main hall:

And here's another view in more recent times (from the school's website): 

In July 2008, I was contacted through Friends Reunited by someone else who went to the school and was in my form. I laughed when she started her email with "you probably don't remember me..." since at age 9 I was head over heels in love with her! I will not mention her name, but for those 'in the know' there is a clue in this sentence:

During the course of our correspondence, I sent her a copy of the school photo I had with my brother. She replied with this one:

I couldn't believe we were seated in front of the same bookshelves!

The only other thing that occurred to me, when comparing our photos, was that as an adult, I couldn't see what I saw in her physically. I don't mean that in a horrible way - what I mean is, that as a child, I was in love with her as a whole person.  As an adult, I have grown far more conscious of women who appeal to me visually and not just psychically, so-to-speak. Quite frankly, also comparing our photos, it wouldn't surprise me if she felt the same way!

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