SCHOOL REUNION by Barrie Purnell

SCHOOL REUNION

There we all were assembled in the hall,
Like we did at school assembly 50 years before,
There for a school reunion of the class of fifty two
Looking around we were indeed a very motley crew.

Some were there just to have a bit of fun,
Others to show us just how well they’d done.
Some came old long lost friendships to renew,
Others because they just had nothing else to do.

I looked around at all the haggard faces
And couldn’t fit any in their schoolroom places.
Everyone just looked so old, how could this be?
Then I remembered they were all as old as me.

It was quite a shock to see how we’d all changed
How all our body dimensions had been re-arranged.
Despite liberal use of expensive astringents
There was no doubt we’d all turned into our parents.

We had all changed so much since the days of our youth
And were unrecognizable, that was the truth,
So to avoid any embarrassment and any shame
They gave us badges on which to write our name.

Jones who lisped his way through elementary French
Was now a grey haired magistrate on the local bench.
Brown sent home for wearing luminous yellow socks
Was a vicar at St Jude’s consoling errant flocks.
Pat, not bright enough university to attend,
Was teaching children on whom the country would depend.
Julie Short, who for boyfriends could have taken her pick,
Was now an unmarried nurse looking after the sick.
And shy Danny Davis had done alright in the end
He had a villa in Spain he shared with his gay friend.
Roger who won the outstanding sportsman shield,
Was in a wheelchair following an injury on the rugby field.
Gillian Jones the schools best looking girl by a mile
Now a small rotund old lady but with the same flirty smile.
Dave the class joker, who knew many a rude recitation,
Had become a boring accountant with no conversation.
And sexy Sarah Smith who had quite a reputation
Had made marrying rich men a profitable vocation.

I renewed some old friendships and reminisced
About what we’d done in the years that we’d missed,
Promised to stay in touch and addresses exchanged
But knew future meetings would not be arranged.
We had little in common, apart from our education,
Which was simply determined by our childhood location.
Few people, allowing for expected exaggeration,
Had been very successful in their chosen occupation
Having settled for less, because they had to pay
For mortgages and children and foreign holidays.
Then a list of fifteen names were read
Of classmates who were already dead.
Nearly twenty five percent of the total class
Had not lived to see this reunion pass,
And for all of our privileged education
It did not seem that our generation
Had left our world a much better place,
Or left any lasting mark upon its face,
Apart from teenagers, drugs and rock and roll
We’d provided little food for the nation’s soul.
Most of our childhood dreams and expectations
Had been lost in life’s day to day frustrations,
And although we’d not achieved much, I confess,
We thought surviving for fifty years sufficient success.
Despite everything there was a sense we’d paid our due
Among most of the class of fifty two.

So when we left and all went our separate ways,
Having failed to recapture those past schooldays,
That school road we’d walked down full of hope in our teens
Was now just a sad boulevard of our broken dreams.
Having left school early at the age of sixteen
I’d often thought about what might have been.
Having seen what my classmates had achieved,
Even if their stories were to be believed,
Of real successes I had spotted very few
I had held my own with the class of fifty two.
It was interesting, and I enjoyed the music and champagne,
But I don’t think that I will be attending again.

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A Visit to the Past by Michael Healy

A Visit to the Past

Although now retired I remain a coordinator for a Linkedin Group, the professional equivalent to Facebook.  Each member produces a brief biography of themselves from School onwards.  My own includes a brief mention of my first days at Prep. School.  One of our members read my biog. and noted that his children now attended the School to which I had been an earlier pupil.  He notified me and informed me that there was to be a reunion – ‘would I be interested’.  I said I would.  This resulted in a smart invitation to my wife and I to attend the reunion from the current Headmaster. As a result the past became the present.

Oh how strange and pleasant that Saturday seemed.   We climbed the steps that I had first climbed some 62 years ago.  Into the entrance, down the long corridor and into the main hall.  It all seemed so much smaller than I remembered, but then I had grown a bit!

We were treated to a splendid display of athletics and a brief play and music by the current pupils, as well as a very pleasant tea.  The Headmaster came and chattered enthusiastically to us and, clearly, I knew more about the earlier times than he did.  Sadly, all my masters had either retired or passed on by now.

I had enjoyed my time at this School.  It set me up really well for my future life.  Here, I had passed my Eleven-Plus and gained a scholarship.  More importantly I had gained an interest and some knowledge about life then, in the past and what may be in the future.

It transpired I was the only aged returner at the reunion, but for me it opened doors in my memory and this return to my past made a wonderful picture of life then, in a different World.

This brief visit to my past reminded how pleasant life had been. Just for a brief while the past became the present.

Michael Healy