1. Is anyone going back to school, as a student or teacher, at your house? How's it going so far?
All my children are going back in assorted directions. Hattie Gandhi has been more "gone" than "home" for the past month or so, she's so in love with Cardiff, her student house and her friends there. This is the last year of her first degree...I'm bowing to the inevitability of more to follow, though she may well have to take a year out to earn some cash if she really wants to continue to an MA or beyond. Meanwhile, she's happier than the days are long, and living student life to the fullest of full.
Hugger Steward departs for the loveliest city in the UK in two weeks time...I can't quite believe he's going. It doesn't feel that long since I was piling up new clothes on the spare bed and preparing for my first term at Cambridge...He has had far more contact and information from Robinson than I ever did from Trinity - and I suspect that the need to do an intensive "Greek Week" before term proper gets under way may be a really good ice-breaker, though it means he departs sooner than other undergraduates.
Meanwhile, closer to home, the Dufflepud has started his 6th form career at a new school - within such a short walking distance that he actually comes home for lunch some days. That's great for me - I love having people blowing in and out - and it's great for Libby too, on the days when I've meetings wall to wall. Hard to say how he's doing...he says it's "fine" and he is enjoying the courses, but I'd love to know that there was at least one acquaintance who might morph into a friend in the weeks ahead.
2. Were you glad or sad when back-to-school time came as a kid? Always loved it once I was there, always had a weep about endings on the last night of the holidays. Nothing much has changed there, then.
3. Did your family of origin have any rituals to mark this time of year? How about now? On the last day of the holidays I was always allowed to choose the menu and command the company of my parents in whatever activity I wanted...Sometimes this would be a trip to play with the slot machines on the Pier (how my introvert, nature loving father must have loathed that)...sometimes our favourite country walk...almost always a game of Monopoly (which had the added bonus of going on and on...so that the "end of holiday treat" could dominate the first few weekends of term too.
4. Favorite memories of back-to-school outfits, lunchboxes, etc? I loved having new things, but it was less of a deal in those days than it is for my children. I do remember the excitement of my first ink pen, when I was in Jr 3 (aged 9 I guess) and the longing for a proper leather brief case, which was promised if I passed my 11+. I did, the case arrived, and of course after one year at High School it was relegated to use by my father, as none of the cool girls would be seen dead carrying their books in anything like that in the age of the tote bag!
5. What was your best year of school? Bizarrely (because this was also the year of my father's death from cancer), I think it was my final year, the Upper 6th,when I had become confident enough in myself to enjoy the opportunities of a boys' independent school. I acquired my first boyfriend (not at my own school, thereby increasing my kudos no end),I took the lead in the school musical, found myself the first ever female Head Chorister, collected prizes at every turn, and was invited to try for Cambridge...There was that wonderful teenage sense of windows opening in all directions, of shining horizons beckoning me onwards. I loved it.