Through the intricacies and mysteries that are Friday nights around here, I ended up down a rabbit-hole.
A notice had been posted on the modern day village noticeboard (where the village is composed entirely of women of a certain age and stage in life by virtue of the fact that we all attended the same school together in the same year).
Below the said notice (of an annual luncheon that is indeed quite wonderful to attend for a myriad of reasons) was a photo that had been taken of approximately one half of the possible candidates for this village that I am part of.
It was familiar, yet not - for these girls of 37 years ago were bright and promising and resplendent in their blazers. I scanned the faces - and the names - and realised that this was part of the shared experience of the half that I was not part of.
Someone asked if anyone had a copy of the other half.
Loose in an old photo album on the Kallax right beside me I found -
- a rare picture of me in the early 1970s with my father,
- several friends and I at "O" week adventures when I first went to University,
- my rowing crew,
- a long lost pen-pal from New Zealand in her hen-house -
- and THAT photo.
Now - technology, night-time and actual care factor mingled and I took an inadequate shot of the other half.
I was actually never in an "A" form in my whole high school career.
People always kindly said that it was random, form selection - but we all know they were lying.
Everybody wants to be chosen for teams early. You learn that young. Well, other people learned that young. That was probably one of those lessons that I missed from hiding behind a door when they were handing them out.
Some kids learned how to make themselves likeable and popular. They had the knack of attracting people and connecting.
I watched this behaviour a lot, and have always found it quite fascinating.
I wasn't one of those kids. As I said, I watched. I read. I occasionally got brilliant ideas and sometimes would, in a mad rush of blood, act upon them and I was actually quite good - early on - of enthusing others with my visions.
The hair salon that was three solid days of exhilirating joy - until it was shut down by the fun police and their "head lice" warnings. I cannot recall if it was someone else's gem of an idea that I fanned by managing the salon - I knew my artistic limitations, and they extend to numbers, words and a tiny bit of bossing around.
I learned that when you are the manager, you are in constant fear of the others realising that you are doing none of the hard work and you will be found out as a fraud. This is a very fraught lesson when you are very young.
And then there was the "ball-bouncing" olympics, organized in a fit of "throw it to the wind" grandiosity that could not sustain the organisational frenzy that was the concept of a finite group of children and balls of varying sizes and ability to bounce and a world to conquer.
This was in the days prior to social media. Be glad.
I learned then that sometimes, brilliant ideas can be enjoyed without allowing the masses to define it.
But yes. Choosing sides. I was never chosen on sheer ability. I was occasionally a curve ball - or a trick pick - but for brilliance, popularity or ability to know how to play by the rules, colour between the lines and wear the right clothes - not me.
Thus 10B - with the completely out there, 6 foot tall sarcastic madame of scathing wit and a second language form mistress Miss Phillips.
Three circles with a magnifying glass and + sign, magnifying glass and - sign and two diagonal arrows going in different directions, a skanky brown background and the top of Miss P's head
What on earth happened to us? Admittedly, I do have to take blame for some of it. The photo is taken on a phone, and what is more for someone who works with technology, I am a luddite when it comes to improving upon my "what the heck" artistic style thus what you get is what you get. On top of that, the 37 year old photo is indeed looking its age - although hiding between the gradually drying cardboard and plastic it has faded and seems worn. Apt.
But we are in shirt-sleeves, somehow the height of 1984 fashion had laid a lighter hand on our haircuts and look like a likely bunch of misfits.
I scan the names from back row left to front row right.
When I had gone through the 10A list, my reactions were "oh, her" and "her" whereas the 10B list it was "oh, that's right" and "her?" (you probably have to be inside my head to hear the nuances).
Another of my intriguing life skills, in addition to the lack of being able to put "A" form on my CV, is the ability to ALWAYS be in the front row of school photos. Some might call it "below average height", but I think it is worth more. (Yes, okay - or less. Happy now?)
So when I get to my own name, there is a addition that I had COMPLETELY FORGOTTEN ABOUT until this moment.
It said (in parenthesis) "(Vice-Captain)".
I know, right?!
That part of my history I had somehow completely erased.
I wonder why? (and was the "O" week photo a clue to where it went?)
So there you have it - I was chosen. Well, chosen second.
I wonder how big a race it was? And how I did it? And if it formed any part of a lesson that I learned?
Or maybe my memory got enticed by the wicked fairy "feels like a fraud" which we didn't have a diagnosis for (or a magazine article covering) and went down a rabbit hole.
- have you ever held a position of power?
- how much do you remember?
- have you ever felt a fraud? and
- what were you doing in 1984?