|THE SCHOOL LIBRARY|
I asked Twitter: Should I go to my school reunion? Twitter said no, so I went anyway.
My sister said: I thought you didn’t do nostalgia. Of course not: punks don’t do nostalgia. But that doesn’t mean you can’t ever look back: as long as there are no rose-tinted glasses, it’s allowed. And maybe it’s my age but looking back feels like something I have to do now. I think it’s about putting the past into perspective.
I was surprised to find that so many people hated our school. I thought it was just me.
It had the trappings of a good school (teachers wearing gowns, school houses, a terrifyingly stern headmistress) but without the reality (good teaching). We were grammar school girls – we’d passed the eleven-plus and this was our reward. Didn’t we deserve better?
We didn’t get it: we got teachers who didn’t know or care how to teach (even at the time, I assumed they were there because they had a degree and didn’t know what to do with it). We got a culture that taught us to conform. We were not taught to aspire, or to think for ourselves. I might have thought it was because we were girls, and girls’ education didn’t matter in the 70s, but my husband tells me his old school was the same.
If it was so bad, why were we all there? Curiosity, perhaps, but about the people, not the institution.
I went, and I met people: some I recognised, but didn’t remember; some I remembered, and liked again. I met an old friend, and made a new one (an instant clique: just like school, in fact). I even remembered the good things: one inspirational teacher, some friendships, the things that made us laugh – and the school library.
And once again, I was glad to leave. I don’t think I’ll be going back again.