Well, what was it really like to go back in time and face your ghosts? When I walked into the room, the first thought that struck me was that it was a room full of old women, just like me. Flabby arms, grey hairs, double chins, hips that were too wide, but a smile on every face as we recognised each other.
As I walked into the room, I can hear a chorus of voices “uh oh, here’s trouble, oh no Pat’s here!” and so on. I grin and say “Yeah yeah, let the party begin” but secretly I am shocked and surprised that a) they remembered me, and b) that they thought I was trouble, even though I KNEW they were stirring me. I stand there and will Bear’s old laptop to power up and work. Please God! Again more voices exclaim, “Here’s Pat! Here’s trouble!”
I sent out an email 4 or 5 days before, asking the girls if they would like to contribute to the night with their own photographs, for the PowerPoint. Not one responds. Finally, I ring one or two of them. "Oh yes," one girl sighs, "I got your email".
"And you didn't respond?" I ask increduously. Another girl walks up to me and asks me if I had received her images.
"No, and I would always reply to you if I had received them, we were on the computer up till 20 mins ago, and they still hadn't come through, sorry."
She walks off in a huff. Hmmmm...
Ann comes up to be and hisses, “Can you believe that’s Anne over there?”
I turn around, away from my PowerPoint presentation I have almost gotten up and running, to see whom she might be talking about. We were both looking forward to seeing one of our old mates, who hadn’t made it to any other reunion.
“No!” I gasp, the sense of deliciousness spreading through me, this is going to be good, I think.
One of our old Prefects comes up and asks me how I spell Ann’s maiden name. B.A.K.E.R. I say. Sheesh.
During the night, one of our “head girls” gave a speech telling us how we were all friends, and how there were no clique or girls shunned at the school. Ann and I look at each other – our eyebrows shooting up in surprise. Was this the same school we went to?
During the PowerPoint show, this Head girl continually asks, “Who’s that?” and even I know their names, so I rattle off “That’s Tracey, that’s Lois, that’s Deborah” etc. Her lack of knowledge, for a girl that had attended the school for 5 years as opposed to my 2 years, surprised me. No friendship groups eh? All encompassing, eh?
One of the girls that I had dreaded seeing again wasn’t there. Bliss. Relief. I couldn’t even look at her photo doing my PowerPoint, she distressed my so much. Damm snob! Anyway, it turns out that by the end of our Senior year, she was pregnant, she had the baby, and had adopted her out. I smiled all night. (I know, sorry) She had never married, and was having a hard life. Good old Karma!
The whole night was a wonderful event, it’s a great privilege to see how my old mates had turned from awkward teenagers to loving mature women who loved their families, had continued their studies, and had coped with whatever life through to them.
Some women had disabled children, kids who were severe epileptic, cancer, marriage break-ups and so on. One of the saddest stories I heard was that of Julie, who hanged herself last year after her marriage broke up. She was a rock during school, what happened for her to take her own life? And hanging? Wow.
During the night as we all give our own speech and recollections “Let Pat speak first” they all shout, (who? Me?) and so I was first up on the floor, giving my version of life at boarding school. Later, a group of three elite “day-girls” come up to me and ask when I boarded? For 2 Terms in Year 11, I say. They didn’t even know. This all-embracing school, with no friendship cliques. Right!
One girl, Fiona, asks me if I put Vegemite on the black toilet seats. I burst out laughing, and admit it was me. I then stand up and ask all the Boarders who were there to put their hands up. About 1/3 of the room raise their right arms. “I am also sorry about the silver glitter I put in your shower-caps,” I say sheepishly. The room is in uproar with laughing.
Ah, the memories are coming back now.
It was a great night, really great. I am so glad to have been there. Bring on the next one!