Try To Remember
My earliest memory (that already feels like the way I used to start all school English essays) stretches back into the last century (now doesn’t THAT make everything sound so much further back in time) when I went to nursery school. This was in the days when nursery school in the UK was largely free and state run so it wouldn’t have been a financial wrench for my parents to contemplate such a thing.
I can remember my eternal butterflies each day on the way to the nursery school, lining up in the playground on a damp and misty morning (I seemingly cannot quite find summer-scene memories so maybe summers were nationalised back then and heavily rationed, I don’t know), filing into the single story building which had a long corridor with classrooms off it to one side much like when old trains had corridors (that analogy is no doubt lost on many of you).
The Cloakroom Waiting Game
I can remember hanging our coats up in the cloakroom which in my mind is combined with the toilets. I’m sure that wasn’t the case but the passing of the years has fused certain memories together. The mornings seemed to be full of sitting on chairs in a circle (hold me down I may start screaming as this all comes back to me) where we were either read to or we awkwardly and timidly sang songs and nursery rhymes. We also repeated this scenario at the end of the day (around 3pm??) but with our parents hovering outside the classroom door looking in on us as they had come to collect us.
In retrospect it would seem that the morning version must have been a rehearsal for the set piece with parents watching just before home time or maybe that’s my older and grown up world weary cynicism interpreting that memory through sceptical-tinted glasses.I’m sure that for all the hovering Mothers this was a joy to behold akin to seeing their tiny one taking part in a nativity play or similar and probably lifted the housewives hearts after a day of drudgery or part time work.
Mid-Morning Has Broken
The mid and later mornings seemed a free-form affair concerned with drawing, painting, playing the most appallingly plastic musical instruments (I seem to remember ALWAYS ending up with the tambourine as I was a timid and shy sort who found it hard to assert myself in such matters) and making the most unholy din though some kids clearly revelled in the ability to make the kind of noise that would wake the dead. I had eyes for the Wendy house on one side of the open plan classroom but rarely got anywhere near it as it always had the usual suspects squatting inside in the form of an exclusive and conspiratorial huddle.
Re-edited from an original posting I wrote on a previous blog elsewhere