I remember 3 — back to school edition

I remember Miss D reading out a piece of work by Holly in which she wrote that she missed Hong Kong (or was it Singapore?) and didn’t like England, and I felt sorry for her, not because she was homesick but because I sensed she was mortified at having it broadcast to the whole class, being shy anyway and not having friends yet. What you submit to a teacher should constitute a secret contract. Miss D was an inspirational teacher, but she made some bad decisions. She did the same thing to me on two occasions.

***

I remember Mr R putting Nikolai, the new Russian boy, next to me in Maths. I was a bit shy of him, partly on account of his being cute. We were working on playing cards and probability, and he asked me ‘What is club?’ and I did a drawing but it was a bad one because it’s difficult to draw a club even if you’re not nervous and I’m not convinced the message got through.

***

I remember Harry faking an epileptic fit to play a practical joke on Mr S, the supply teacher, but it didn’t work because Mr S wasn’t very observant.

***

I remember Ben asking Mr O in an English lesson how to spell ‘hisself’, as he wanted to use the word in a short story, and Mr O saying there was no such word, which struck me as very unhelpful because it could have been dialogue, and people do say ‘hisself’ even if it isn’t grammatical.

***

I remember joking that Oliver Twist was an OK book but it didn’t have any of the songs in it, which made Neil laugh.

***

I remember being pleased when Kat objected to something she perceived as homophobic in a story we were reading in English, even though it wasn’t really necessary. The rest of us who cared about it wouldn’t have been bold enough to speak out.

***

I remember thinking my history teacher Miss L was beautiful.

I remember thinking she liked me more than the other pupils because the marks she gave me were disproportionate to the quality of my work and the effort I put into it, and anyway she just did.

I remember Miss L played the flute and was quite shy and had translucent skin and sometimes blushed.

I remember Miss L correcting me gently for my anachronistic use of the phrase ‘conscientious objector’.

I remember David, who was normally quite boisterous and disruptive, toning things down for Miss L, probably because he secretly liked her too.

***

I remember Mr T telling Helen that she sounded like Kenneth Grahame, and I realised he meant Kenneth Williams and felt bad for him, though I was the only one in the class who’d have known.

***

I remember Mark coming in one morning and telling me his cat had died the night before, and hanging around with him during break and lunchtime feeling sad together and not really speaking. I think a member of staff asked if we were OK and I explained. I wrote a piece of music in memory of Mark’s cat, though I never played it to him or even told him because it would have been embarrassing.

***

I remember devising a signature based on Miss R’s, which is still essentially my signature now.

***

I remember, when we were about twelve, Jamie euphemistically describing Luke to me as a ‘flower’, and me protesting because of my conviction that being effeminate did not equate to being gay, though Luke did turn out to be gay, and so did Jamie.

***

I remember Mr W banging his fist on the table during a play rehearsal, knocking a cup of water into his bag, and Paul having such a laughing fit that he had to go to the toilet to recover for so long that I wondered if I should go looking for him.

***

I remember taking a penalty in football and striking the ball very poorly but scoring because the goalkeeper was even worse than me.

***

I remember a student Music teacher correcting my use of ‘symphony’s’ to ‘symphonies’ in a piece of written work about the Minuet and Trio from Schubert’s 5th. I approached her after the lesson to explain why she was wrong.

***

I remember Tim being shocked at how late I went to bed and telling me the late nights would catch up with me, and thinking what a bore he was.

***

I remember Rachel asking me, possibly earnestly, if I was on drugs, probably because I liked to go around with my eyes half closed and sometimes walked into things. I wasn’t on drugs, I was just tired.

***

I remember feeling flattered when Max punched me repeatedly in the arm, and when Jake gave me this personalised message, because they amounted to tokens of friendship, albeit oblique ones.

Message, c. 1998

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5 Responses to “I remember 3 — back to school edition”

  1. newboyblake Says:

    You’re a mysterious flower, dude.

  2. Michael H. Says:

    Most enjoyable. You appear to have total recall. I’ve forgotten so much about my childood (except hiding in the long grass with Roger to avoid being picked for cricket) that it’s as though it never happened. (And holding hands with Roger under the desk). I wonder what happened to him….

    • Gareth Says:

      I do remember a lot. How much of it really happened, I can’t swear to. Memory ‘usually chronicles the things that have never happened, and couldn’t possibly have happened’, as you know. Time for me to write my three-volume novel.

  3. Michael H. Says:

    When you write your three-volume novel do please make it ‘abandoned’. But keep away from Gower Street omnibuses….

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