Who remembers their first day at school? Not me apparently. I don’t remember the day at all – in fact my memory is decidedly patchy on Infant School – that’s what it used to be called in England when you went off to school for the first time after your fifth birthday. Infant School. We were hardly infants; infant conjures up visions of a wrinkly baby unable to walk or even talk, and certainly totally incapable of going to school. We were somewhat bigger than infants but we knew next to nothing about life or what was in store for us.
I made an impression on Brenda, a five-year-old girl starting school too, and she has recently had occasion to remind me that I cried on my first day at School – she told her Mum so at the end of that day. She and I have been friends ever since. We went through all the same schools and had other friends, some “best”, along the way. Lots of those friends have fallen by the wayside, but for some reason Bren and I have stuck together.
These days staying in touch with friends or family is so much easier, or at least faster, with tools like email and Skype: an essential element of our long friendship as Bren is often on a different continent if it’s a different month! In the 1950’s, staying in touch meant going round to a friend’s house either on foot or a bike; even phones were scarce amongst our friends. When a phone came into our house, we were forbidden to use it unless it was an emergency. My mum didn’t live long enough to encounter Skype – she thought a cordless phone was a fantastic invention. I can only imagine how much she would have enjoyed our weekly chats by Skype…. and I’m not sure if anyone ever told her that I cried on my first day at school.