Anxious, excited, apprehensive, I kept close to my mother’s side, within reach of her hand should I need an extra measure of comfort as I watched the other fidgeting five and six-year olds grouped in clusters about the cavernous room, some holding fast to their mother’s hand. It is September, 1955. A teacher entered to stand at the front, the name card “Miss Haughton” cleanly pinned to her chest. Round face and apple cheeks framed by short, fashionably curled brown hair, she was a poster child for the wholesome young woman of her era. An uneasy stillness settled as she began to read out the names of the children. Her voice was small within the vast space yet I clearly heard her call my friend’s name, and I turned to my mother and said, “I want to be in that class”. Debby lived next door to me and at the tender age of five she and I had already been friends for a lifetime.
My name was called and when Miss Haughton had completed her roster, we turned and with last looks over our shoulders and nervous waves to our mothers, a motley crew of youngsters as ever there was, filed out of the gym behind Miss Haughton and wound its way through the unfamiliar corridors. As our scraggly column marched through the door into our classroom we passed through a portal into new, unfamiliar territory and a new phase in our young lives.
My grade 3 class, 1958 … I’m first girl from the left, back row. While I can’t seem to remember the names of the people I worked with 10 years ago, I easily recited from memory the full names of everyone in this photo … memory is a quirky thing.