Schoolday stories

At my first school, which I attended age 4-9, I was one of just 40 pupils. I rarely experienced any unhappiness there, soaking up poetry, French, dictation & basic arithmetic and enjoying the company of my school friends, some of whom I still see around town. Some have stayed in my memory for various reasons to do with their appearance – lipreading means close attention to features – Sandra had the reddest hair I have ever seen; Patrick’s hair was tightly curled; Dudley (always pronounced by me as Duggerley) had melting brown eyes; Eugene (YouJane in my mind) always wore a waistcoat & bow tie and the twins, boy and girl, always wore the same clothes with skirt or trousers accordingly like Topsy & Tim. IAG the time, I wore a vast box hearing aid on one hip with equally vast battery box on the other hip in black felt bags embroidered (by whom I don’t remember) with pink pigs. I was never especially aware of being deaf until one day I forgot my hearing aid – this is the poem I wrote on examining that memory a few years ago:

Singing my favourite hymn in assembly
Happy, wordless, soundless
All things bright and beautiful
Unheard mother behind me suddenly, shockingly
Plugging the pig pink mould into reluctant ear
Trailing wire, box and batteries encumbering
Shock of cacophony of voices blurring
“There dear, you can hear now!”

All things dull and uglified…

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