Often things happen in life which unexpectedly stir up long forgotten memories and give you pause for reflection.
Last week I found out that a school friend of ours passed away in unhappy circumstances a couple of years ago, leaving behind her one year old daughter. I hadn’t seen this friend since I left school. We simply drifted in separate directions, no malice or bad love between us, just life scooping us up and leading us opposite ways.
Despite it being over fifteen years since we were in the same room together and my memory being somewhat precarious thanks to those sleep-deprived early days of motherhood, in which I don’t think you ever fully recover, the news of her death gave cause for all of my school pals to unite via the joys of email and share our happy thoughts of our times together.
There's something unique about reminiscing with school friends in which no other friendship is comparable and I reckon I lucked out because our school really was a real good’un.
I’ll get this out of the way first as I’ve endured years of irrelevant, ill-informed (and annoying) opinions about it - I went to a private all girls’ school.
Before you start conjuring images of us careering about with our hockey sticks shouting “what ho!” whilst we regaled tales of Mummy’s annoyance that the Harrods’ food delivery was 30 seconds late and why oh why can’t butlers learn to dust the Ming properly, I’ll burst that bubble now...
The majority of my fellow classmate's parents worked their socks off and made many compromises to educate us privately. None of us lived in mansions, owned a yacht, or spent the summer holidays on our private island in Mauritius. None of us are called ‘Luciana Von Bridlington-Chaucer-Baudelaire’ or any other ridiculous names given only to those born into a world where you will end up in the Tatler ‘About Town’ section one day. Nope, we’re all a pretty normal bunch of gals.
The huge bonus of the whole private thing though was having only 30-odd people in our entire year.
In some classes there were just 5 of us – so when I talk to people of being a close-knit group in my school days, I really do mean it.
Inevitably we all hung out in our own little groups and no doubt our collective hormones got the better of us on many occasions but in general, we all genuinely liked each other. We laughed & shared tales of woe with each and every person in our year and for some of us (me being one), we spent 14 whole years in each other’s company. That’s longer than I’ve been married to My Love.
It’s no wonder then that the people who know me better than anyone in the world, who I can be 150% myself without any judgment or pre-conceptions, are my school friends.
Don’t get me wrong, I have made beautiful friends since school and if anything, we have experienced much more pressing life events together than worrying whether Rugby Tom noticed me at the Year 8 disco.
But wherever life sends me, I'll always share an invisible bond to those school years and the people who helped me me become the person I am today.
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