Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Cyber School Reunion

The last few days have been full of reminiscing and flashbacks as I was put in touch with my old school friends on Face Book and it has sent a flurry of messages across the globe - California, Canada, Australia, Africa and the UK. I went to The Cowley Girls' Grammar School - a traditional and academic establishment and a power house of hormones and high spirits! Looking at the old school photo that one member of the group put on FB, I am amazed that I can remember every girl in my class quite vividly and that we are remembering our school days with a combination of nostalgia and laughter. WE were all girls - boys were mysterious creatures and any that were brave enough to enter our school gates where subjected to flirting, giggling and occasionally - hysterics! Things that have popped into my head include:-
* Our first school needlework project was to embroidery and stitch a cover for my hymn book! Mine was in beige linen fabric with a design of a bunch of flowers painstakingly embroidered in orange and yellow daisies. I can see it in my mind as if I had stitched it yesterday and yet I had not thought about it for thirty five years. I have no idea what happened to but I imagine that it will resurface one day and perhaps feature on The Antiques Roadshow as an example as a dying skill. I just hope that I am spared the embarrassment of this by dying before it!
* Those awful bottle green knickers that we had to wear were so ugly. Enormous bloomers, fleecy lined with elastic threaded through the top - they were passion killers of note! We played sports in them too. Its hard to believe that tights (pantie hose) had not been invented and stockings were worn with suspender belts. Clear nail polish was used to stop ladders in snagged stockings. We wore school coats with raglan sleeves and bottle green velour hats in winter and any girl caught chewing in the street was disciplined.
*Summer tennis was played in Victoria Park and our objective was to hit the ball over the net in such a way that our opponent cold hit it back. I used to accuse Tony of cheating when he spun the ball when we played the odd game of tennis and he commented that how could anyone be expected to win if you didn't spin the ball. As young women, it was all about the game - were not taught to win - winning was sinning LOL.
* We were not caned - not that I know of - We were given order marks and if you received three in one term then you were sent to the headmistress. My friend Susan Helsby told her parents that order marks were for keeping order in class so she got praised when she got one or two! I was mortified to receive my first order mark - my crime? I lost my purse on the bus and it was handed in and it did not have my name in it. Laughable compared to what happens in schools these days!
* Food glorious food! School dinners consisted of shepherds pie, rice pudding served with a blob of jam or prunes, syrup sponge, cabbage, meat and two veg, jam roly poly and sometimes on a Friday Chips and salad and as a special treat - milky coffee!!! We used to swoon with happiness on these holy days.
* A group of us were banned from the classroom at breaks for a whole term for some misdemeanor so we camped outside by the staff room window and sang hymns at  until the torture became too much and the teachers let us back in a couple of weeks later.
* Assembly where Miss Jackson read our school reading from Corinthians - the one about love - and we used to sing hymns off key. I was reminded about the hymn, Love Divine, that had the line 'pure and spotless' in it and how we used to sing that line at the top of our voices just to be funny,
* My best friend and partner in crime and I, often used to send a taxi cab to Miss Jackson's house on a Saturday evening at 7.30. We used to order it by phone from a telephone box and pretend we were Miss Jackson. I hope the taxi firm and Miss Jackson forgives us.
* Many of our teachers were old spinsters who were very dedicated to their job and then we had a couple of men teachers, Mr Wood who taught English and walked out of our class one day as we were giving him a hard time. We had to go to the staff room and apologise and beg him to come and teach us. Mr Brader taught German and history I think and then Mr Briscoe who apparently we used to ask abut his sex life - I have no recollection of this as I probably blotted it out,
I have much to thank my old school for as it taught me everything I needed to navigate the world - I was thought of as an underachiever as my priority in life then was fun, dancing and boys! I wish I had the maturity and study ethic that I developed in later life as I would have excelled. Many of ex Colewians have gone on to be successful and well rounded women and it is so lovely to catch up with them and reminisce. I also remember getting into trouble for passing a note in class saying,"If school days are the best days of our lives, what are the rest of our lives going to be like!" If only I had appreciated how lucky I was back then!                                                                  

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