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Thursday, 23 August 2012

Class of '51

There! Him - the one not quite in line... I do
remember him - even if his name escapes...
Something of a ragamuffin, never was in line.
Always late. Never properly prepared 
for lessons. Always in disgrace. Rode 

his bike like a madman. Killed
by a Post Office van. Stunning eulogy
the head gave. Declared he was
the finest scholar and the finest
human being he had known.

See there, sat next to him. Red hair,
that sporty type. Ribboned coat -
cricket and rugby football blues -
Head Boy's cap. (Not his, not then. Borrowed!
His would come) Abused by our

new Language chap. His mother found
the letter in his pocket suggesting ...an 
experiment. The dear boy could be  tied
down to the master's bed, wearing
only some new shorts I've bought for you.

Extreme right. Second row Grant Fawley,
cross-country hero. Ran them all feet bound
in bandages. Never ran in shoes.
Years later, though, he turned to sprinting.
Olympic champion, the last I heard.

And next to him, his closest rival,
Jack Shepherdson. The two were overheard
the day before the Inter Schools Athletics match,
sharing out the honours: planning which
events they each would let the other win.

Dead center of the third row, Brian Jane.
He suffered for that name. A boy soprano,
which also didn't help - except it made him
Headmaster's blue eyed boy who took the lead
in Iolanthe and a good few other operas.

Gilbert and Sullivan was dished up
every year at The Baths Hall. The big event,
the highlight of the year and Brian Jane
became as much a star as any one 
turned out by Hollywood. Fireproof was Jane.

13 comments:

Mary said...

Seems everyone has a story, Dave. If a person looks at any of those old class pictures, it is amazing what comes to mind. Kind of an eerie poem though...as it also causes everyone to look at themselves in some old class picture and wonder what story someone else would be telling about us....from that old photo.

jabblog said...

Photographs evoke such memories, often memories we didn't realise we had. Inevitably there's a moment of wondering whatever became of the people in the photo and perhaps a little regret that our ways have parted and we probably have no way of finding out.

manicddaily said...

Ah. Like your village tales and wonderful. I love the conversational tone and oh so telling details, and lack of outrage -you are just telling the story - very lovely. k.

jane.healy said...

I like the sound of Brian!

jane.healy said...

Sorry pressed the send button before adding I also enjoyed the rest of your trip down Memory Lane.

Helen said...

When I reflect on class reunions over the years ... I am struck by the fact that photos are more satisfying reminders of who we were!

Cloudia said...

Tis become (or believe oneself) 'fire-proof' merely to survive!

Another group portrait, as specific to time place persons
as any Rembrandt-


And thanks for the missing Edith Head lines!


Aloha from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral
=^..^=
> < } } ( ° >

Carl said...

Fun. I enjoyed this ramble through a class photo.

Brian Miller said...

ha i try not to look back...but just today i met a guy...another teacher who knows a bunch of guys i went to school with and he was telling me what they were up to now...pretty crazy....

The Elephant's Child said...

Oh yes. Memories of bits and pieces. The eulogy struck home. One of my class mates was killed while drunk behind the wheel of a car. Which surprised none of us. From the speech our headmaster gave, he was destined for the Nobel Peace Prize. Dishonest I thought then and now.

Dave King said...

Mary
Good point, yes. I guess we're all subjects for another's tales.

jabblog
It's true, and the photographs need not always be that old. It's frightening, at times, how quickly anno domini overtakes us.

manicddaily
Thanks for the kind words. I just try to tell it as it is - or was or I remember it!

jane
Yup, I liked him a lot. Thanks for coming back. Really good to know.

Helen
Yes, I 'd not thought of it that way before, but I'm sure that's right.

Cloudia
I'm sure that's true also - your remark re fireproof.
Thanks for your kind thoughts.
(They weren't really Edith Head lines - so far as I know! Didn't intend to mislead. Sorry.)

Carl
Thanks Carl. Much appreciated.

Brian
Yeah, that happens every now and then, some story turns up concerning someone from the past - and makes me think what a dull life I've led!

The Elephant's Child
Mmm, I suppose the temptation to whitewash the dead is always there. But like yours did to you, this one struck me very forcibly and I've never forgotten it.


Eileen T O'Neill ..... said...

Dave,

A review of an old scholl photograph tends to become emotional for all the reasons you have included.
Not remembering names can be sad, or a happiness if the memories were not particularly good.
I tend to recall my teachers much more easily, since their influence somehow decided my career path in life.
Funny how the most hurtful remarks remain in my memory.
My old school no longer exists and that is indeed a sad fact.

Eileen

Dulcina said...

I enjoyed this portrait of school mates, real academic life with its lights and shadows.
"Fireproof was Jane" is a perfect end to your memory.