Sunday, 2 September 2012

School Days, Happy Days

The theme for this month's Storytelling Sunday over at From High in the Sky is Too Cool for School. Get a drink, follow the link here, and sit back for a while as you read some memories and remember your own. Better still, join in.

There is a day firmly fixed in my head. The day I heard I had passed the 11+ examination. The eleven plus was created in the UK in 1944, the year before I was born. My brother had sat the 11+ in 1948 and gained entry into Manchester Grammar School for Boys. I so wanted to follow in his footsteps.



Here I am at primary school. It was my last year, I was head of Montgomery House, named after Field Marshall Montgomery. That's my captain's badge at the top. I kept that badge for years and years. It was my talisman, watching over me as I crossed the bridge from the security of childhood to adulthood and the pathway opening up before me. 

Our House song was The British Grenadiers, and all these years later, I can still remember it:


Some talk of Alexander, and some of Hercules
Of Hector and Lysander, and such great names as these.
But of all the world's great heroes, there's none that can compare.
With a tow, row, row, row, row, row, to the British Grenadiers.

Looking back now, it seems like another lifetime. Cots in the nursery class; free, silver topped bottles of milk that in winter had to be thawed out on the school stove; the wearing of liberty bodices; elasticated blue knickers (remember those?); singing, skipping, maypole dancing and lots of freedom. Playing outside all day whatever the weather, only going indoors when it was time to eat. And the learning, always learning.

I look at my photograph now and see back through my eyes all the hopes and dreams for the future. The excitement of things to come. Too cool for school? Never! In a different way, I am still learning, though now it is technology that fills up my head.

See you at breaktime in the playground? 

PS: Over on Shimelle's website, you can sign up for Learn Something New Every Day. Now there's a wonderful challenge for September.



23 comments:

Sian said...

Irene, you haven't changed a bit! Honestly, those eyes are still sparkling with fun and a sense of discovery..

Beautifully conjured up as you took us right back! Thank you

Abi said...

Brilliantly told! I was humming that british grenadiers song when I read it!

Amy said...

Sian, I was thinking the same - Irene your eyes are so sparkly and kind and fun filled. You really do look as though you were very happy at school.

Fiona@staring at the sea said...

Wonderfully told Irene. You've taken me right back to those little silver topped bottles of milk and my story (up later today) may well involve navy blue knickers!

Alison said...

Silver-topped milk bottles and liberty bodices...the memories! ..and Sian's right about those eyes..the smile hasn't changed either!
Alison xx

favouriteworkofart said...

So evocative...thank you, you have stirred up many a memory!

Elizabeth said...

What's a liberty bodice? Special memories in your story and I absolutely love your photo. You still have the very same smile and twinkle in your eyes.

S said...

How I love how a single photo can bring back the flood of memories and tell a good part of our journey in life. Wonderfully told, thanks for sharing.

Mel said...

A radiant picture of a dazzling little girl! I still remember our school hymn too - these things tend to stick with you!

Louise said...

oh my what a lovely happy photo - it does look like you enjoyed school. happy memories! x

Missus Wookie said...

I had silver topped bottles for a brief period when I arrived in the uk - they stopped that year!

What a lovely photo and such a great collection of memories :)

Cheri said...

You have such happy smile and twinkling eyes - your photo just radiates joy!

Melissa said...

Breaktime in the playground sounds fun . . . of course, the playground now is my craft room where I'm always learning, too! I'm following along with LSNED this year by reading the prompts, which I'm sure will inspire a few layouts and a blog post or two!

Karen said...

Beautifully told and I too remember liberty bodices!

Wanda said...

I enjoyed reading your post. Talk of school "houses" and such reminded me of the Harry Potter stories. I definitely want to read those again.

I'm not attending Shimelle's "Learn Something New Every Day" challenge, but I'll be there in spirit. I do a little happy dance whenever I figure something out. It doesn't matter whether it's a big thing or a small one--I'm just glad to know a little more than I did before. Have fun at Shimelle's.

Ginger said...

Lovely photo and lovely story:) and yes I would love to see you in the playground!

Beverly said...

I love memories like this, thanks so much for sharing and you were a beautiful child.

Maria Ontiveros said...

What a sweet, sweet picture.
Rinda

Scrappi Sandi said...

A great package of reminiscences! I remember the silver topped half pints of milk...chilled in winter, warm in summer...but missed out on a liberty bodice!! I remember singing that song in a school play!! That is a truly wonderful photo to have kept & you haven't changed a bit!! :D

Lisa-Jane said...

What a gorgeous photo - that smile! I remember a few of those things but I was born in 1974 ;-) See you in class.

Jennifer Grace said...

What a brilliant, happy photo, and great memories of your school years. I'm a bit behind on LSNED, but then I always handed in homework at the last possible moment too...! x

Gail said...

What wonderful memories. Don't remember silver topped milk bottles but I do remember them freezing.

Alana said...

Lovely story and photo. Maypole dancing, I remember our class always getting it wrong and getting tangled up.