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Recalling the ‘best days of our lives’

John Ward (1933509)
John Ward (1933509)

I think I scribbled at one point - as my regular reader might recall, but if they can’t, don’t worry about it as I’m not going to ask questions afterwards anyway - about attending a school reunion some years ago and the mental upheaval thereafter that was/had been caused.

More recently, I attended a class reunion - it’s like a school reunion but less of ’em to wade through and talk patronising twaddle like: ‘You have not changed one bit, but I don’t remember you wearing a moustache in 3B.’

And can only mean you or they have been in a partial coma well over the last 30-odd years, with ‘odd’ being the key word of course in such cases, as you rarely hear anybody say to anyone: ‘Whoever did your nose job and the ‘nip and tuck’ did a belter of a job and when do you go back to have the last stage done?’ would not win anybody over, although then again..

This was our class get-together, as in the last class before we were unleashed on an unsuspecting world, to go forth and take up careers based on the wonderful education (note: I am writing this with an open mind, believe me, as I used to believe it as well) we received during those final years, as we were nurtured, plus made aware of, the great outside world and to show said world that our days in those classrooms were not in vain - well, that’s the theory but reality has to creep into it at some point to spoil it all of course and in a lot of cases, it seems it did.

I suppose it must be the

most used sentence or variations of it used at reunions: ‘As soon as I saw you come in, I said to myself you have not changed one bit - how are you these days - you are looking fit - its been how many years now? - really?! - that many?’ - but after a bit more of this patronising load of horse droppings in verbal form they then ask who you are, so while your mobile device has a good memory, they don’t.

Despite the fact someone struggled to get through the revolving door into the pub lounge where the event was being held with their Zimmer frame, plus dragging a bottle of oxygen in its own trolley (the shoulder straps for the back harness are currently at the menders) with a nurse by their side, you are still bound to get about three or four people ask if they still play football on a Sunday afternoon or still own a horse, as they haven’t seen them out riding on the common for a little while.

Once you are made aware of folk, who they still are or could be, plus how they have changed beyond all repair, you then select those you feel you still have something in common with to talk about those heady school days of long ago.

We all looked up to our headmaster - he stood on a rostrum during morning assembly so we had no choice really.

The staff then.

Was there any evidence to suggest that we had a form master who was slung out the Russian KGB for being cruel, to his own men? (Zat is for us to know ant you to vonder, comrade) and did our maths master really get assorted classes to go and build his bungalow under the pretence that all the measuring and preparing the cement was part of our curriculum? In a word, yes.

As friend Roger has often said, we had the most dismal geography teacher as to this day, decades on (but not too many), we still cannot remember anything of substance he told us that was relevant then or even today (Thought: can we sue for compensation in him failing to deliver? - surely it was our ‘who-man rights’?).

There are those who for assorted reasons are unable to attend, excuses had been sent along - with apologies with one keeping within the spirit of the event - a note saying: ‘He cud not come or arrive even as he is feeling hunwell’ signed ‘My Mum’.

Those such as ‘Loathsome Les’ were conspicuous by their absence (thankfully) but in his case, a huge sigh of relief was felt by those present, with the jokers among the crowd suddenly bursting into voice every so often with: ‘Look everybody! - it’s Les just coming in!’ which was guaranteed to make everybody shudder and suddenly remember that they must be going as of now, right away even.

To say Les is the ‘missing link’ would be putting it nicely, as he was and still is ‘Mr Doom & Gloom’ in one fun-filled package - his dress sense was amazing, it was rumoured that he won a ‘Worzel Gummidge’ contest but had not formally entered, he just happened to be crossing the hall floor.

He was a ‘Pray As You Go’ plumber - a good one, when he put his mind to it - but motivation was lacking, as he would sit and think about doing the job but in the time taken, another plumber would/could have done the job and on to the next one, although to give him his due, he often commented on the state of the country (this one) and how standards had fallen when it came to the craftsmanship that was sadly lacking - although some suggested he thought the Peter Sellers film ‘I’m Alright Jack’ was an early form of training video and no guesses as to which part he was in tune with.

If you can recall the character Blakey the bus inspector in the TV sit-com ‘On The Buses’ from years ago, this was Les to a tee and many who know him thought the musical ‘Les Miserables’ was a play about his life and nothing to do with the French Revolution, plus some singing slung in to keep it going.

As well as getting to meet old school friends from ages ago and remembering the antics we got up to, it was also a time to remember those not with us - either unable to get there, unable to be contacted, or who had passed away in the intervening years.

One topic that seemed to linger in discussion was the fact that in ‘our day’ we battled through to school regardless of the weather. Nobody could remember the school shutting because an inch or so of snow had fallen; we played games in the playground without first filling in a batch of risk assessment forms to appease the those-greater-than-like- what-we -were or-could-ever- be - at least in their minds

However, one name cropped up as to ‘where was he now?’ - was he working for a government department or in Rampton Secure Hospital (as a client) or working on Devils Island as a H&S (Hinder & Stifle) official, although at the next reunion, we might find out.

So, overall, ‘lessons had been learned’ in our case - apart from geography that is - although we have now sussed that Sweden is the natural habitat of Abba and Volvos.

Class! Dismissed!


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