Saturday, 4 July 2015


The row of houses I once lived in

Ofttimes, when we move from one phase of our lives into
another, we do so without a backward glance and with nary a
thought to what we're leaving behind.  For example, when I passed
through the gate of my primary school for the final time, the fact that
it was part of my life that was seemingly gone forever didn't, as far as I
recall, perturb me in the slightest.  Soon, the classrooms and corridors
of my secondary school became the familiar routine of my daily life,
and I'm surprised, looking back today, at just how quickly and
easily I adapted to the change without even realizing it.

The front gate of my old primary school - from the inside

It wasn't until I revisited my old primary a few years later,
after having left secondary and joined the working classes, that
it dawned on me that, in some mysterious, mystical, magical way, I
was still connected to this aspect of my past and, in truth, had never
really parted from it.  You see, not thinking about a thing is not the
same as forgetting it.  The memory yet dwells in our subconscious;
 what we forget is the act of remembering - until, that is, something
suddenly triggers the memory and causes it to erupt in our
minds like an exploding firework.

The toilets - listen to that water trickle

I remember one day a few years back, when I suddenly
caught a whiff of disinfectant and was instantly transported back
to the toilets of my old primary school, where I often used to retire
to during lessons for a bit of peace and quiet in the cool of the tiled
environs, with the sound of gently-gurgling water emanating from the
cubicle cisterns and porcelain urinals.  I felt such a soothing sense of
tranquility there, and it was my very own 'fortress of solitude' for
five minutes at a time whenever the confines of the classroom
became too claustrophobic for me. ( I assume my teacher
simply thought I had a weak bladder.)

I can see my house from here.  The view from my classroom

I've previously mentioned how I felt when I revisited a
former home for the first time since I'd moved 16 years before
(which, at the time, was more than half my life away), and it was
practically the same as when I'd left.  As I said in this post,  it was
as if the intervening years and two houses I'd lived in since were only
a dream, and I still felt right at home there.  I'm sure we've all had
the experience of meeting someone we haven't seen or thought
of in years and it's just as if we saw them only a short while
before.  That's how I felt on that particular day.

My former back garden - ah, happy memories

Well, I could labour the point I suppose, with example
after example, but I'm sure you're all smart enough to catch my
drift.  Things we may think we've left behind (whether or not, at
the time, we were even aware of it) come with us without us realizing
it.  They reside in the caverns of memory, reluctant to let go of us de-
spite our seeming indifference to them.  Whether it be garden gates,
bedroom carpets, once favourite toys, favoured friends or what-
ever, they follow us throughout our lives, just waiting for an
opportune moment to renew the acquaintance.

  Long may it ever be so.   


Rip Jagger said...

Agreed. My elementary school still stands (surprisingly) and remains something of an architectural oddity which none of us appreciated. Built on a slope (everything in Eastern Kentucky is built on a slope just about) the grades (first through sixth)went up the hill, so you literally gained elevation as you ascended from first grade to second and so forth. Went back there decades ago at my twentieth reunion (high school) was the place seemed unchanged.

Rip Off

Kid said...

Sadly, Rip, photos of my old school are just about all that remain of it, as it was demolished about a year and a half ago. They're currently building houses and flats on its former site. You know you're getting old when the places of your youth that you'd like to revisit are no longer there.

Colin Jones said...

The day I left primary school (or Juniors as we called it ) was a big deal for me - it was Friday, July 22nd 1977 and I deliberately chose to walk up the hill and out of the gates which was a route I didn't normally take (there were several exits from the school) but on this final day I felt like I should leave by the "official" exit - I can still remember the crowds of kids and parents milling around as I trudged up the hill and out of the gates for the last time, it's still a poignant memory. As for things that remain in the memory only to resurface many years later - well, that would apply to Marvel comics for me. I stopped reading comics circa 1983 but in the early 2000's all the hype surrounding the Marvel movies like X-Men and Spider-Man revived my long dormant interest in Marvel and eventually I started reading marvel comics again - both the old stories via Marvel Essential volumes and the new comics which unlike most people of our age (it seems) I enjoy. Coming back to Marvel was like "coming home" - yes, it's corny but true - and I intend to stick with them to the end now.

Kid said...

On my last day, I and some other classmates had been at a special screening and prize presentation at the local cinema, and when we were dropped off outside the school, the final bell of the day had gone and the pupils were leaving. I had to go back to my classroom to collect my jacket and schoolbag, so if there had been any special arrangements made for those whose final day it was, I never got to share in them. As the school was only at the foot of my street and visible from my bedroom window, I never really had the chance to miss it anyway.

Ah, Marvel comics. I still mainly prefer the ones I read as a youth, but I suppose that's purely a 'nostalgia' thing.

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