Monday, 27 July 2015

6: School

1) First day

We were looking forward to school. We had watched longingly as our elder siblings had trooped off with the other children down the road in the mornings, coming back for lunch with tales of playground fights and teachers and excitements beyond what home offered.

On that first day our mother took us, and we walked in certain we were going to like it there. The main thing I remember though is a wail coming from the next classroom, "I want to be with the twins! I want to be with the twins!" Our friend had been put in a different class to us. An outrage, something we weren't expecting. Of course we would be together and carry on as normal in this new and strange environment.

As it happened they relented and by the end of the day he'd joined our class, and all was well. School could  begin now.

2) The naughtiest boy and girl in the class

...weren't me. From day one I was miss goody two shoes, never wanting to get into trouble. But my mischievous twin and our friend seemed to seek it out. If not, deliberately, trouble always found them. Like the time they decided to write in big letters just because it was fun. That act of rebellion cost them a place on the Blue (top) table and they were demoted to the Orange (second) table for a week. But their biggest fall from grace was one activities afternoon. We could choose what activity to do, and there was always a painting table. On this particular day our teacher was making a mural so most of us joined in with that. My sister and friend decided they'd rather paint. So they started to paint a picture each. They gradually worked their way round the table, using up all the blank paper provided. Then they got bored. So they painted the table. And the floor. And each other. I can still remember the outraged shout of "What's this?" from our dragonlike classroom assistant. I don't remember the punishment that time, but they were in BIG trouble.

The next year we swapped classes and our friend was quite happy to leave us behind. From then on in, my twin was a rebel alone.

3) Reading

The summer before we started school, my elder siblings had taught us to read. They made us little books and we soon picked out the words with ease. Which meant when we got to school we raced through the reading scheme. We were happily equal, my twin and I and it never occurred to me that it would ever be any different. Until the fateful day when she jumped two books ahead of me in the reading scheme. And I cried all the way home. I was always two steps behind her at school after that. I got over it in the end, but it's quite  a hard lesson to learn at five...

4) Maths

I started off at school enjoying sums. I could add three pigs and five pigs and make eight. I breezed through subtraction and multiplication. But then one day I was given a sum I couldn't do.  For the life of me I couldn't see the logic of having 10 pigs dividing them by five and getting two. I tried and tried, but remained completely  baffled. From then on in, a hatred of maths was born, and a feeling that I was incapable of understanding it. My dad always said it was like a language, but it was one which stubbornly failed to make sense to me. Which is is a shame, because (not for the first time) I shut myself off from a subject which I can see has given my eldest daughter a lot of pleasure. Still, at least I managed to scrape an O level in it. But without those damned pigs, who knows what might have happened?

5) Playtime

We had an infant playground and a junior playground, divided by some steps going down to the junior one. It was an act of ultimate defiance for an infant to be seen in the juniors (our poor sister a whole year older spent the lot of our first year at school being sent back up to the infants till my mum came up with the wheeze of putting our intials on our school jumpers). The playground was a rough and ready place. There were fights, and misunderstandings, and the times you get left out of games. But sometimes it was fun, and then there was always kiss chase. Which we played endlessly, although I never quite knew whether I wanted to be kissed or not. Most of the boys back then didn't seem terribly kissable. Luckily before I found out, kiss chase came to an abrupt stop when the head teacher looked out of the window one day and saw what we were doing, just as I was about to get caught. I was never quite sure afterwards whether I was angry or grateful.

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