Saturday, November 13, 2010

40yrs after - School reunion

This was THE event i think for everyone, most tried to turn up but not everyone could make it.

I wouldn't have been the brightest of bunnies there and i was on the sofa with a pillow behind my head, my body was indeed, wracked in pain.

but I felt sitting there and watching,( for that is all i was really able to do), happy.
School was a horrible place for me.  I made no friends at all. Period.  That was for a number of reasons, being deaf did not help, neither did being a twin or the implied and stated "don't expect much from the twins"  which was actually said to my Mother!
The nuns and the girls were never nasty, we had no bullying, it was a fair enough regime, it was far gentler than at most schools at the time.
Some young left handers had their left hand tied behind their backs and learners were made to write with the non dominant hand, you start to see something in the RC ethos here.

It wasn't so at the HCJ.  Remembering it was an age of not yet enlightenment on possibilities of a young person and their mind and their feelings, it was a tolerable regime for education.

I saw the shiners there last night, so elegant, so chatty and really confident mature women.
All were easy conversationalists, all were happy to fill in the blank years with their class of 70.
I was happy enough to watch the exchange and see the women in a far easier light then through the terror of my school days.

There was the most brainiest in the class, who could converse with me with ease and i so with her. Gone was the competition and fears.  so too with the other brains and most of them were.
Time has panned out all as equal.
It doesn't mean that myself as i am now can become a friend in the true sense to any of them.

I am not that easy and now with disability probably worse so.  But the fright was gone.
I had spent a bad bad bad day, mostly in bed, a bad ending when i furiously spat out hurts and upset and pain, the emotional side of a young life being downgraded continually by a dysfunctional family.
I threw my two older sisters out, screaming like a banshee.  Very ill and in pain in all senses, i wanted shut of hypocrisy.  I cannot take that anymore.

so i went back to bed but then realised 'you were looking forward to this for months, awn'
and i was.
the clothes were ironed first thing that morning, the pictures were printed up and in a neat pile and the hockey stick of 40yrs, was worn and waiting as was the school blazer, showing signs of rigor mortis as it was stiff and dank.
I rang the taxi and shuffled the hair with gel, slapped on a bit of lipstick and bundled self off the soft warm bed and more or less straight into the taxi.
It wasnt that good to turn up first an hour early - why - I never put the clock back!!
Well, there is no need to, for time blurs with me and no structure at all and no one in particular in the life of mine, i timed time by more light and day than hours.

It was not wise to go in my boot slippers, not that they were 'out of place', which they were, but it had started to rain on the journey so by the time i got to the hall door, my feet were wet, the sleepers soggi and the tiny toes, frozen.
Yet, my friends all my cognitions have not gone astray, i had bought a second pair, for eventuality of getting too hot! so in this instance to - warm the toes up.

It was the noise, the lights (ah, had forgotten the eye shades) and pain that saw me try to sort out a way of 'disappearing' without the patronising 'fond farewell' the pain started at the beginning.  I had stood up as all were, and was chatting, leaning on my stick.  pain ran through my legs and i bailed out.  I was suddenly screaming inside, and knew that that was defo the bad idea of the evening.
I went into the kitchen to see if i had paracetamol in my bag, i didn't.
Emer the doc came in, yes in real life a doc, and said 'you look a bit worse for wear' and i added i was, in fucking awful pain.
then the nurse came in, yes in real life she was!
Barbara, do you have any paracetamol on you.  she didn't.  i begged her to ask around without too much fuss.
Emer met me in the corridor and passed over disprin as if it was heroin, whilst remaining chatting to Catherine.
I laughed at that, and approved.
surprisingly, disprin worked in a remarkably short space of time.
I moved further away from the babble and heat.
i was at the far end of the foods of delight.
i watched in fascination and approval, i repeat, i was happy.
Still at the corner of the brain, i was upset at being so different and so unwell.
But far outweighing that was my ability to lose the 'fear of humans.'
some came over to chat, and it was with ease and with no condesention at all.
they are lovely women.
Now for the grand exit.
Grainne, self and Vanessa were plotting the 'slip away' in the kitchen and i rang my taxi, but then a few others came into the kitchen and i told vanessa that i should just say good bye really and do it properly.
it was natural enough, i held up the beloved hockey stick and Nicola shouted, 'you were the bain of my life on the pitch.'
Nicola reminded me that her mother had been at school with mine, that was nice actually really nice.
Barbara took a snap with me and Sheila, i always liked Sheila, everyone did, i told her i would ring.
and so the long haul exit, down the steps of the grand house in Wellington Place back to the not so grand in the 'noggin, where one is listening to drunkards and body art, well, seeing the body art, defacement.
I cried deeply into Vanessa's shoulders just before i got into the taxi.  I didnt know it was going to happen.
"Oh God, Vanessa, i hate the difference, i hate being disabled and sick"  i hug her close and it was good really.  Vanessa is a ticket and fun and loverly.
I tried to collect myself for i saw she was upset i think.  I waved a weak smile, not of pity but 'i am ok, sorry V, sorry, I am ok.
the taxi man had a downes syndrome brother.  we talked about attitude etc.
i came home drained, very dejected but then again, it was all worth it.  it was what i wanted to do, it was where i wanted to be, to see them all again.  it could have been for the last time.
I had whipped the pic of twin and i at my twins graduation off the wall and showed everyone.  they stared and looked deep into it. Everyone asked for Mags, and when i said "she's in Australia," they gasped and drew in and then out, "what?" Yes, flew away just like that!

Emer during the evening said to me, 'we didn't know Ann about your deafness and stuff, we just didn't know,'  she tried to redeem my school ineptness, by saying, 'you actually could see you were not stupid,' there was a sense you were not stupid. ' I never saw that part for sure for sure!

Nonetheless, disabled or not, i saw the women of the day, good and kind, equal and i was without fears and demons on that score.
i am proud of self to go when so unwell.
I am happier for it.
Not so, the difference.  the noggin and what has happened in the past year.
but something inside has healed for sure.
it must mean something when they say 'confront your fears!'

1 comment:

Catherine said...

Hey Ann, was good to see you. I had hoped to have a chat but I arrived so late [must have put my clock back 2 hours ] and then you were gone. Glad you made it and enjoyed yourself and interesting to read your colourful account of the evening. It was like stepping back in time, with the added dessert of everyones life experiences. It was a good night for all I think..