When writing a book, you have to consider three things: the beginning, the middle, and the end. What the rules are as to writing a letter, I do not know. I have written plenty of letters in the past, learning the various rules of doing such in English lessons at school, and which (amazingly I still remember) I would like to write about school, as it seems to be on my mind right now. Maybe it’s because I am currently studying at college, which is a bit like school, except I am no longer of school age and the teachers are not idiots. Well, not this one anyway. I would like this letter to be the first of many, though I know it will not. It is just a passing fancy and a chance wind that brought us ‘together’ for the briefest of moments, and this we both know.
I freely admit I made mistakes, which you have pointed out. Actually, I prefer to see them as “lessons learnt.” I still don’t know very much — just a bit more than I did before, which was even less than I know now. Without those ‘mistakes‘, I would not be the person I am today, nor would I probably be sitting here writing this letter.
Looking back with a mature eye and nothing in my way, I appreciate that these things were not all my own fault. Rather, through the meddling and influences of other people and the environment in which I was raised (though not as harsh as some was still by no means a walk in the park) I have always been a stubborn so-and-so and, when I get pushed, I stick my heels in deeper when I am pressured into doing something I do not want to do. Then I can become quite impossible. It is a blessing and a curse. Sometimes it can be a more of the negative than the positive, though I am aware that everything comes in equal measure (usually).
How is best to raise a child? With shouting and cajoling, or with something more emphatic? Do you encourage and nurture their life’s ambition, or stifle it and then do everything within your power to prevent it happening? The Careers Officer certainly put on a good show of it, the useless prat. Never mind, I am not complaining, just writing. Whether it helps or not is irrelevant — it’s because I want to.
School, for me, was a good place to be. It’s just a simple matter of deciding which one to write on. Or, should it just be some of what went on? Certainly, the first place was more of an adventure. The second place was a continuation of the nightmare that had not quite ended, and was just awful in a different way.
The methods became slightly harsher — isolation was a favourite tactic. Yes, that’s right — being ‘sent to Coventry ‘ and if other people tried communicating with you, as if you were dirty and infected. We had corporal punishment, too. For what? Laughing out loud. We had the cane, as well.
It was not all that bad in the junior school — we got to fool around in the woods and play ‘war’ or something. We even got to go Bird World, which was a big place near the school, which was, needless to say, full of birds. We only ever really got to see the fishes. You see, there was Fish World, too, which was in the same complex. We never once got to see the birds. Well, we might have seen a couple of penguins, but never the vulture or the parrot.
My house master was drunk all the time (or so it seemed). He liked to swim in the nude, in the early morning, and was once caught by the school secretary. He had a thing for earwax and seemed to enjoy eating it. In short, he was minging. He also like to rap his pipe on the windowsill and, as a result, we all called him Pecker. Get it?
If you behaved or there was nothing else going down, you sometimes got to watch videos in his flat. Usually something educational. We soon found the whisky and helped him finish it. What used to go on the classroom overhead projector, I won’t say, but it was green. He used to lick his hankie and wipe it clean. And not just the once. We all decided he evidently liked bogies, so we ensured there were always plenty there for him.