In a break from running all over the city with the kids, Mrs Cricket reminded me that one of the primary schools I attended was having its centenary fair today, and that with no cricket on, I should put in an appearance. I had to deny the suggestion, made twice, from little miss that I was a foundation student in 1914.
I found the “historical display” in the library, a building that I’m sure has replaced what I remember as a decrepit and wholly inadequate structure that was referred to as the “weather shed”. There was the original student list from 1914, and some other antiquated documents , but I wanted to see if there was any evidence of my attendance. I found the 1970s display, but two very earnest older ladies had taken up residence, spanning the display with their substantial girths while peering intently at the photos with glasses perched on scrunched up noses. One of them kept touching the photos accompAnied by ” that’s not her class, ” and neither was that one”, “maybe she was sick that day.” It seems like the pressure she applied was inversely proportional to the actual relevance of ether photo to her kids. Eventually she moved on, the historic display (of e school originals ) now looking like it had been pecked by an ugly blunt beaked plover.
Still, there I was. In the second class and third class photos looking just a little serious with a smattering of people whose names I could just recall, and a whole lot I couldn’t. Fourth class, my last at this school, was even more familiar as far as faces go but unfortunately I was absent that day and not in the photo. I can’t remember ever seeing that one, so mum obviously decided not to buy it as I wasn’t in it. That’s a shame. Because I remembered the class and the teacher very fondly, and unlike the solemnity of earlier years, the group looks happy. I guess these days I’d be photoshopped in, and even now I feel like cutting and pasting a third class image of me into the image I took on my phone over 40 years later.
I saw the plovers later, poking their way around a “home made” fudge stall. They’d put heavy finger prints into the vanilla, pecan and triple-choc stock before the stall owner intervened and forthrightly bundled up $15 worth of fudge for them each.
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This work of fiction © Dave Cornford