Wednesday, April 05, 2006

the best days of your life?

On my way to work yesterday, the radio informed me that my old school was closing. It came as a surprise, the last I'd heard the place was specialising in the Performing Arts and holding regular performances at the Gardner Arts Centre and as part of the Brighton Festival Fringe.

I began to think back to my school days, something I try to avoid normally as the last few years were not pleasant. This is mostly due to my raging hormones and desire to rebel in what, looking back, was undoubtedly more damaging to myself than anyone else. Those last few years burnt through all the memories, but they were still there, just slightly crispy around the edges.

There was the day my brother climbed up into the digger on the back playing field, managed to turn it on and started driving off towards the line of trees, with what I can only imagine was a manic grin on his face. At the time diggers, tractors and other large vehicles were his favourite things, since then his driving hasn't changed much!

My chums and I used to hang about twiddling our thumbs on long summer afternoons, until we invented The Game. It was a rather elaborate game of hide and seek, the details of which I can no longer remember, and it filled those summer afternoons with chases around the playing fields, huddled groups behind class rooms, and half-frightened whispers as we tried to work out who was where and if they were right behind us.

We used to hang out in the library, staring out of the large windows across the playing field and onto the downs, whilst writing stories. Some of these became novels, with pages and pages filled in neat handwriting and passed around, like a soap opera, each waiting for the next installment.

There was my first kiss, I was twelve and nervous and hidden in the prefects garden with Stuart Honeyball. And suddenly it was all over and he was off home for the holidays, whilst I was left standing there behind the conifers, all emotions.

I played a river-banker in the Wind in the Willows, make up pasted on with brush after brush, and was so jealous of those who were picked to be weasels as they got to dress in punk gear, with back-combed hair and more eyeliner than Robert Smith.

And suddenly the phrase "Those were the days..." pops into my head and for a while I wonder if they were the best days of my life, or simply a precursor for all those other fabulous days I've had since and will no doubt have more of in the future.

5 comments:

Ginquinn said...

Well we are told they are meant to be the best days of our lives - but they certainly weren't mine and I know others who feel the same... Its more like a prison sentence - you have to do a long stint and finally get your freedom at the end... University always sticks in my mind as one of the best times in my life - what I wouldn't do to go back!!!! Although I might skip the final year :-)

Sophystar said...

I only stayed at Uni for a term and have to admit to finding it much like school. In a way I regret not getting a degree but, to be honest, I still can't make up my mind which one I'd want to do!

Ginquinn said...

I guess I was very lucky that I picked a subject that I loved (English) and got to study at a wonderful, arty university that was full of creative teachers and students... It is a tricky business choosing the subject and where to study...

A Novelist said...

What a great post. Some of my best memories in my life were from my school days. I really like your blog and look forward to reading more. :)

Joh said...

Oddly I was just speaking to a workmate, who happened to mention that the school she has been teaching at has just shut rather unexpectedly under rather suspicious circumstances...

I'm thinking it could be the same school as you are writing about here.

I liked the coincidence (especially since I only read this post this morning - bad Joh).