Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Happiest Days Of Our Lives?

After many years of promising myself a return visit to my old primary school I finally took the bull by the horns yesterday and made the appointment for today at 12.00pm, the time when the children would be on their lunch break in the playground and I could visit the classrooms without disturbing them or their teachers.

The weather was showery and quite blustery as I set off on my journey. I was amazed that I actually felt a little bit anxious almost as if I was going to be scrutinized by the very teachers who once towered over me and scolded me harshly when I didn't get my sums right. Fifty years ago schools were places to be feared, corporal punishment the order of the day so there was little sympathy to be gained from showing your mother the raised welts on your hands from a beating with either a bamboo cane or leather strap or both on a really bad day, you'd just be told "you must have deserved it"! Having said all that I did have three wonderful teachers who actually made learning an enjoyable experience for everyone. So good were these teachers that most of what I learned, I learned from them. Alongside the bad times were some really great fun times too.

Approaching the doorway from which some children were still making their way out to the playground I visualized myself at their age walking out that same door. I found myself mentally saying to them "remember this moment for it will soon become just a memory".

In the forty five year period since I left the school its interior hasn't really changed all that much. Yes, the classrooms are much brighter, the once dark wood panelled walls are now brightly painted, childrens' multi-coloured paintings and notices adorn the walls of these classrooms and front stairway, in the corridors computer monitors rest on their trolleys, a stark reminder that this is part of twenty-first century learning. The once long wooden windows have now all been replaced by white PVC ones which do not require a pole with a hook to open and close them.

I was delighted to see that the corridors retained their original mosiac floors and tiled walls, they brought back some fleeting memories like the feel of my white runners (nowadays track shoes) as I walked out to the main playground for drill display. Also the front and rear staircases are just as I remember. At one point while I was in the classroom that for some reason I remember very clearly, fourth class it was, I had a very strange feeling. For a brief moment I was back there re-experiencing a memory of sitting at my old wooden desk with its iron frame and me staring out the long timber-framed window. It was a little bit scary.

With permission from the staff I took about eight interior photographs which I will always cherish. Speaking of the staff, they were absolutely wonderful and made me feel so welcome. We also talked about my teachers, some of whom have sadly passed on.

It was certainly a day to remember, I shall never forget it. I'm glad I finally made that return journey. I wish the children and their teachers all the very best. May they too have happy memories.



  1. This post took me back to my school days too. Recently on a trip to my hometown, I went back to my high school and it was such a thrill. Re-lived so many happy memories.
    Thanks for posting this Ann.

  2. Thank you Suzy, it was an amazing day. It's always strange when you revisit a place that was so much part of your early life and experience the old memories flooding back. Glad you too had a lovely time. Cheers!