For those of you who don’t read the comments…. well sometimes you really should, you’re missing the best bits……
“Ah Primary School. It was the late 60s for me, but the sentiments remain the same ….
The schoolyard. Aged 4. Short pants. Tarmac, trepidation and snot.
I remember the obligatory boy with the white patch of sticking plaster over one eye. His hideous black-framed NHS spectacles sat upon his wart-infected ears. My new shoes were rubbing already.
The older kids in the corner mischievously sang that summer’s bizarre novelty hit, “There Coming To Take Me Away Ha-Haa!” Mum had cut my hair around a basin and I had a lop-sided fringe. I smelled of camomile lotion following the recent spotty Chicken Pox affair. 2lemon bon-bons gathered lint in my pocket.
The teachers looked about 55; looking back, they were probably 26! ‘Maybe they’ll teach me how to become a real Thunderbird?’ I wondered. (I had imagination – what more would I need in life?)
And the girls. Lots of girls. Mostly pig-tailed, missing their front teeth and ugly as sin; but one or 2 were worryingly pretty. Handstands against the wall with knickers on display. It was all too much! I’d never considered that girls existed before. I had football, a dog and a tortoise – girls had never been necessary.
The bell clanged. This was it.
“You’re a big boy now. These are the best days of your life”. (Had I known about God then, I’d have asked him to help me). I so desparately wanted to cry when my mother said goodbye. That wretched stomach through a mangle feeling.
She spat on a handkerchief and wiped my grubby face one last time and she was gone.
I noticed a pile of freshly steaming sick was being covered by a man with a shovel and a bucket of sawdust. Some boys were still sobbing into their mothers’ aprons. My bottom lip wobbled precariously – but I must’ve somehow realised that future playground pecking order and classroom kudos could not be gained by wailing like a ‘puff’.
Besides, I’d previously learnt how to be ‘mummy’s brave soldier’ when TV’s Andy Pandy show ended, and the heart-wrenching signature tune had played .. “Time to go home, time to go home .. Andy is waving goodbye … Goodbye”.
On that very first morning at school, I remember learning 2 important things:
Lesson 1 – If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.
Lesson 2: Don’t sit next to the boy who’s shit himself.
As I’ve said before kiddo, you’re not alone.