March 31st, 2005

Random Violin

Lucaet Lux Vestra

An email discussion got me thinking about boarding school - something I haven't thought about in years. It was on the whole a miserable time of my life; I went there with such expectations, having read all of my mother's jolly-hockey-sticks English girls' books which centred on midnight feasts and Adventures. Instead, I was homesick, lonely, and perpetually hungry and cold.
Here are some of the memories, good and bad:-
* Walking in a crocodile up to the local church every Sunday morning, hats and gloves in place.
* Multi-skilled teachers. Our PE teacher also took us for Divinity and Science. It was interesting, seeing her reconcile "In The Beginning" with the Big Bang and Darwin.
* Missing breakfast on numerous occasions, as I was up a tree on the sports ground, having a smoke.
* Reading "Lord Of The Rings" for the first time while ensconced in the branches of a huge elm tree which grew outside the dorm.
* Melissa Robinson, one of my friends until she was expelled. Her father, Lee, was the director of both Skippy and Boney, and Melissa had a bit part in one Boney episode. We weren't allowed to watch it when it aired, however, as only the senior girls had television privileges, one hour per week.
* Being reprimanded in chapel one Sunday evening. The minister was playing excerpts from the rock opera "Jesus Christ Superstar" to demonstrate how 'bad' it was. I sang along, word for word.
Chapel actually gave me a really shivery feeling. We had to attend Monday to Saturday mornings, and again on Sunday night. Not too long before my time at the school, a student had been shot and killed in the chapel by a prisoner who had escaped from Goulburn jail. Her parents paid for a stained glass window in her memory, and there was a plaque on the pew where she died.
* The rotating meal menu. Every fourth Monday lunch was frankfurts and baked beans, followed by Neopolitan ice cream.
* Home science - the classroom was a renovated Cobb & Co stagecoach staging post. We had to walk half a mile to get there.
* Elspeth. Never before, and never since, have I met anyone named Elspeth. She was a really close friend. I loved her name, it seemed to come straight out of an Enid Blyton book.
* Learning to play hockey. Being the only girl who had never played before. Being late for lunch, because you couldn't leave the field until you had scooped your hockey ball into the bucket, using nothing but your hockey stick. It took me months to master that skill.
* Being the only girl who knew how to play a recorder, and accompanying the lower school kids in their Christmas presentation of Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat (so how come that wasn't considered blasphemous?).
* Tack. Where else would you hear the word in this context? Morning tea, by any other name. An Arnotts biscuit tin full of jam sandwiches, cut in triangular halves. One half to each girl. No wonder I was always hungry.
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    Memories - Cats