I don’t know if everyone does this, but I often think back to when I was at school and wonder what happened to those people I remember from long ago… Sometimes it’s possible to find old friends or school buddies – I did so with much joy recently. However some reunions are just baffling… “where is that funny fun person I remember? Who is this po-faced individual with no sense of humour? What happened to change them… or have I misremembered, was this always how they were?‘” Sometimes strange things are revealed, unexpected things – some are lovely – this person always really liked and admired me and wanted to be a closer friend, this other person was a bully and really unkind but I never saw it or guessed.
This morning for some reason I was thinking about my birthday, and remembering when I was at junior school, it might even be infant school, there were a couple of friends whose birthdays were either side of mine. One was called Catherine, and I can’t remember who the other was – John, maybe? What happened to them? How did their lives pan out? Catherine must have moved schools because she wasn’t in my class later on… and thinking about it now, I used to play with her because she lived in our road, so maybe she didn’t even go to our school? I guess I was about six at the time… Does she ever think back over those many years and remember a little me she played with?
Then there were the twins who also lived in our road and also moved away, Richard and Elizabeth, I wonder where you are now, I hope you’ve had happy and successful lives. Living in Cambridge there were a lot of visitors to the university who stayed for maybe only a year or so; their children came to school, then they too disappeared – little Polish Jan, and Pierre from France, and another little girl from Poland, Ewa, Carla from the States and someone whose name I’ve forgotten – maybe she was Virginia, from Australia. There were other little children who I now know didn’t have such happy lives, and sad things happened to them while they were still young; I hope they escaped their situation and were able to find happiness.
Often quoted because it is so true – “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there”…