Thursday, May 7, 2009

School Daze

I have been contacted by a couple of people from school in the past few days.  They weren't looking for me, but hoping to make contact with others who we shared time with some decades ago now.  I've spent a lot of time reflecting on childhood and the wonder years in this blog and I think that may well be a symptom of midlife episodes.

I do remember both these people but I cannot remember ever having spoken to them.  One is a girl and I was as shy a school boy as anyone would ever come across so it's not surprising we never had a conversation during school days - apart from being shy I wasn't a "jock" and being bookish I tended to shrink a bit into the background, which was probably exacerbated by the fact that some of my mates alwyas did well with the girls, if you know what I mean.

So for these two people I think I was basically one of those forgettable people, someone whose name you may remember, but whose face was never one that was going to leave a lasting memory, or be easy to recall when the name was mentioned.

There are some things I remember from Burwood High School that seem seared into my brain and will be there forever.  But there are far many more things that seem shrouded in fog and have continued to fade, not unlike the photograph here of the front gate of the school.   The contrast is going, fading to grey, the corridors and class rooms hinted at behind the walls of the building have also remained for the most part hidden from the view of my memories.   The six years spent wandering the quadrangles and learning the things that still echo in the man writing here today, are lost somewhere and may never be recovered. 

I could make things up about those days.   Talk about the clarity and the teachers who changed my life, or the lifetime mates who I still see.  But the truth is that whilst some teachers made a mark, there was no Mr Chips or John Keating in my life.  Not their fault either.

When I look back I realise that I was an observer rather than a participator and I regret that, as I regret that even in the observation I failed to record the things that mattered.  If I had, I may now be able to recall those days with greater clarity.  There's a photo of me here in the Junior Boys Basketball team and I feel I made that team by default too.  I could jump, but not dribble, I later learnt to shoot, but back then, I tended to be one of the kids who was last to be chosen in any team or group activity, so whilst I did represent the school I didn't get a lot of minutes.  As with the rest of my school life, the other members were far more outgoing and talented than I.  

Did I have self esteem issues?   No, that came much later on.  I wasn't aware of anything different at the time.  I was who I was and not capable of being anything else.  I froze in social situations and because it made me uncomfortable I tended to use excuses not to go to parties.  At school I hung around with a group, but was one of the less inspiring, tending to listen rather than participate.  I don't even know now if any of them actually liked me.  Maybe I was just tolerated, no threat, so no reason to be ostracised, no dill, so no reason to laugh at me, no opinions or personality, so no reason to be remembered, a bit of a misfit who didn't know he was one at the time.

Sometimes, when I'm alone and thinking of the past little bits of those times come back to me.  It's like peering through a window with a blind fluttering in the wind, sometimes revealing the outside world, other thimes threatening to, but rapidly closing it off again.   So I will try and reach back to understand why I am who I am, because the one thing I can say is the boy from that school carried baggage with him into manhood.


Andrew said...

'Maybe I was just tolerated, no threat, so no reason to be ostracised, no dill, so no reason to laugh at me, no opinions or personality, so no reason to be remembered'

Never thought about it much, but that was probably me too.

Recent blog post: Seems like just yesterday

Linda said...

School. Where the girls were bitches to me. The boys ignored me. I sat at the back of the class drawing pictures. Sitting with the handful of other invisible students.

Recent blog post: Office Whiney Pants

paisley said...

this was really a lovely post.. i went to so many different schools i never had the chance to attend a reunion or anything would have no idea which school to go to......

Recent blog post: lonely

Loz said...

I think the vast majority of us are the same Andrew. Ordinary :)

Recent blog post: School Daze

Loz said...

There were plenty of invisible students at my school too. When I look at the old photos I am amazed at how many people I spent 12 years of my life with who I never had a real conversation with.

Recent blog post: School Daze

Just a Girl said...

I was rather shy and bookworthy in school, too... if only because people were generally mean to me and picked on me nearly all of my school days. I couldn't imagine any one of them calling me up. I'd probably laugh hysterically and hang up on them. But then that is just me. Thanks for sharing your experiences though. Which one of those strapping lads is you? I am guessing second row first one on the left?

Recent blog post: Lifeboats and the sinking boat.

Loz said...

school was a shelter for me Paisley although hindsight tells me that it was more a cave than a home.

Recent blog post: School Daze

Loz said...

As you look at the photo I am in the front row on the left. Over the next year most of us grew our hair to shoulder length.

Recent blog post: School Daze

suzen said...

The day I felt the best about myself was the day I dropped the baggage I'd been carrying, all the regrets, all the sad tales of my suzen sagas, all the abuse. My bags were heavy and kept me from seeing the present moment my only opportunity to BE, live, and grow. I don't like who I "was" or anything about my first 26 years on this planet. So glad its history, because it sure isn't the me that exists now. There has been great joy in letting it go and getting to know (and create) the person I am now. I wish you that joy with all my heart!

p.s. I have only vague memories of school days too and consider that a gift of aging - that was an awful time for me. Best I not go excavating.

Recent blog post: PERFECTIONISM - A Disease of Choice?

Jen said...

I so relate as well. I hardly even think about School days. I am not in contact with anyone I went to School with. I love seeing people that have friendships that have stood the test of time. My sister still catches up with a group of friends she went through School with. Then I wonder is it because she was one of the 'popular' ones, whereas for me I was one of the 'ordinary'.

You so often make me think about things.

Maybe that is why self-esteem insues came into play. For me too. I used to feel very awkward in social situations and hate going to parties etc. I often still do feel awkward at times. Just a few weeks ago I was invited to a 50th but didn't go because I had no partner, and wouldn't know anyone there except the actual host. So silly I know, could have been an opportunity to possibly meet someone, but I just felt I couldn't do it.

I am glad though I chose the career I did, which put me in the position of having to interact with people. That did help me a lot.

Lots to think about.


SHIMI said...

nice to be here

Recent blog post: Jika itu sepatutnya

Loz said...

They weren't awful times for me Suzen, it's just that I'm realising that they could have been much better than they were.

Recent blog post: School Daze

Loz said...

Jen not going is not silly, the patterns of childhood often carry into later life and we can't start to overcome the weaknesses until we can really understand what they were in the first place.

Recent blog post: School Daze

Loz said...

Welcome Shimi and thanks for the visit

Recent blog post: School Daze

Just a Girl said...

LOL! I meant the first row I was counting the back row as first so I did guess right :o) I'd say not too different from how boys wear their hair these days. I took my teen aged sister to see a band playing at a youth venue and I swear the 70s has returned ;o)

blur ting said...

You're right, most of us went through school life the same way. Mine was quite similar too. At that time, we didn't have the opportunity to assume a different personality like the way we could now via the blog.

Recent blog post: Quiet Sunday

Brigit said...

Interesting reading, not just your post but everyone's commments. It seems there are many of us that didn't have a great time at school. If I was then who I am now, perhaps I'd have enjoyed school more...perhaps I'd have done better. Perhaps I wouldn't have done some of the things I did in my youth. I'm just glad I am who I am now. I don't even want to think about where I could possibly be if I'd have hung onto some of my previous insecurities.

Recent blog post: Relax, Relax…..Relax!