School days are on the minds of a lot of us right now.
I’m a big believer in sharing stories through families so we know our history, what shaped us and who and where we have come from. A sense of their families history gives children both roots and wings. They know where they belong but know they need their very own tales to tell.
Making sure our babies grow up knowing who we are gives them a sense of connection to us through their mirrored but individual experiences (like school days.) Family stories are fascinating; all the little details create a rich social history unique in the knowing to the inheritor of your stories.
Keeping your family stories alive and sharing your own stories with your little ones is a wonderful gift that you can give them, it costs nothing but your time. So I urge you to grab some paper or write a little blog or record a little podcast talking about your memories for your children.
So here we go with mine.
To Frankie and Lisi, let me tell you about my school days….
My school days…
I went to Lady Bay Primary School where my mum and aunties had also gone. Leafy Lady Bay, I still love you. Everyone seemed a bit posh to me their parents were all social workers or teachers, but not us. My daddy was a racecourse bookie and a bit of a rogue ( so handsome though all the mums loved him!) We were pretty poor really in comparison to everyone else, no phone or car and a tiny rented house.
But I had the best thing a girl could ever have – a really truly warm and welcoming LOVELY mum and dad. So everyone adored coming to play at ours. I was pretty popular I suppose. I met 2 of my very best friends at school Zelga and Helen who are still 2 of my very best friends now all those years later. Isn’t that fabulous?
I was average academically at school which was hard for me as my sister, your aunty Tricia was BRILLIANT a ‘gifted’ child. My mum often got told that I didn’t really try hard but when I did I excelled too. Mum used to try and explain I had flashes of brilliance but generally and most of the times I was pretty average and that I always did my best. She was so loyal and it was true, I always worked very hard but only occasionally did I really ‘get it.’ Again and again, I was told to try harder which seemed pretty unfair to me.
Teachers aren’t always right you know! Apart from that I LOVED school.
We used to play rounders every playtime and I could really belt out that ball (we used our fists to hit it.) We didn’t wear uniform and we would play dobby, what’s the time mr. wolf?, Star Wars and we would re-enact Saturday night’s The Generation Game!
I remember learning to crochet, playing the recorder, making pink Chinese food, sports day, hard maths and wonderful wonderful time to write stories. I wish I had that time these days.
I remember going to Boggle Hole (near Robin Hoods Bay on a YHA trip and hating it, missing home so much. We went there for a honeymoon me and daddy, not to the same place but very nearby. How odd.
A horrible girl called Joanne once stole my apple rubber and tried to make me do her homework. I told my mum who stomped up to school and told on her the next day DEMANDING to see the headmistress. She never bullied me again. Grandma was ALWAYS my most loyal supporter. How I miss her. I will ALWAYS support you like that, just be sure to tell me if ever things are wrong. I am always on your side.
Before school we would go to my granny’s who lived in her bed in the lounge for years. Like in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Granny and Grandad lived in Lady Bay on the way to school. She couldn’t talk and needed us to feed her which we did each morning. She had a beautiful smile and twinkly kind eyes. After school we would go there and wait for mum to come home from work (she started work when I was about 7.) Grandad was the BEST (but that’s a story for another day.) I absolutely adored him. Funny, kind, wise, naughty, honest and so, so kind. The best grandad EVER.
School was school – a place of firsts and of learning. You’ll see. I sent my first valentine there to a boy called Dominic, I learned badly how to play the violin. I learned how to learn and I learned how to be a friend and I played a lot. I also learned not everyone was nice and kind and that some people got bullied (I always stood up for them like Grandma stood up for me and you MUST do too!)
I learned that to do well at school, really well, I would have to study MUCH harder than most people. But I wanted to do well so I did work hard and have done ever since. I learned quite a bit about me in those primary years. Proud to be different, a loyal friend for life, lively, fun, hard-working.
I learned I could fit in with people no matter how different our backgrounds and I developed a deep confidence. I hope school is as good for you and you learn too that everyone is your equal and that you have individual gifts and that you are truly FABULOUS no matter what any ones else thinks.
I love you,