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Worcester, Worcestershire, United Kingdom
Born in the year of the Coronation, I'm a Baby Boomer. In April of this year I decided I too would have a Diamond Jubilee celebration and completely change my life and that of my Husband's in the process

Saturday, 12 November 2005

Remembrance Day & Reunion.

I've long suspected I'm mad and I think this week proves it. Why would anyone, in the same week they have organised a school reunion for a bunch of women that haven't met for 34 years, also offer to do a half hour PowerPoint presentation for Remembrance Day Assembly, bearing in mind I have never done a PowerPoint anything before? 

But that is what I did and now I can put my feet up for the first time in weeks and truly relax. 

I have to say that of the two, the presentation was the more enjoyable.

I felt that some of the children were buying poppies for Remembrance Day but did not really understand what they were buying them for and a significant number weren't buying them at all.

As all our classrooms now have interactive whiteboards, it is possible to show PowerPoint presentations on them complete with sound and that's what I did yesterday.

I collected pictures from the Web of  WW1, the trenches and devastated battlefield, then fields of poppies and explained how the British Legion was set up and poppies were sold in 1921 to help provide an income for the soldiers who had been left incapacitated by war. Then described how we now have veterans from many other conflicts, including right up to date with Iraq and Afghanistan.

I showed them pictures of my son and his submarine and the photos he took of the WW1 battlefields he went to visit two years ago.

I told them the tale of my great uncle Albert and showed them pictures of him with his family, in his football team, how today he might have been a professional footballer. He also had a very fine voice and sang with several Male Voice Choirs and so might have appeared on the X Factor if he'd been a young man now  and finally a picture of him in his army uniform.

I then read out the end ofa letter he wrote to his wife Sarah, just before he died.

 I am writing this  hoping it will not be necessary to forward it and I will leave it to someone to post, when they have certain news I am dead or missing.

During the next few days we shall be very fortunate indeed if we are not killed. There is a big attack coming on and my Battalion is in the front line. Our orders are to take two lines of trenches, so you see, this cannot be done without risk.  

 In addition, prior to the attack, a mine is to be exploded just a few yards away and as we shall be lying in the open, there will be some weighty things flying about. Then there is the bombardment, the holding of the trenches… if we capture them. Then, a counter attack. Altogether it is odds that a few of us will cop something.   I hope you will not get this letter but if you do, Remember my last thoughts were with you.  

 Albert died 25th September 1915. Like many others, his body was never found.  

I played various tracks of appropriate music to go with the different photos.   It was a very moving experience, nearly 80 nine and ten year olds, many with behaviour problems, were enthralled and afterwards there were so many questions.  

 One boy said he had been thinking of joining the RAF but after hearing me he knew he definitely would, as he felt it would be a privilege to serve his country and at the same time have a worthwhile career. He also said he thought it was very poor that so few of his classmates had bothered to wear a poppy.Our Year Head stepped in then and said that was the whole point of why we went to war, to preserve our freedom to choose and to be able to wear, or not wear poppies as they thought fit.

I thought this comment seemed a bit odd and rather trivialised the point as children take things so literally. Can you imagine them going home and telling Mum & Dad that WW1 was all about the right to wear poppies?   

Later on the way back to the staff room one of the other teachers explained  'Well he would say that wouldn't he, as he was the only member of staff not wearing a poppy'.    

 

The reunion of some of my schoolfriends was today. I was very nervous, as I had arranged it. What if no one turned up? What if no one remembered anyone else? It could be a long and tedious lunchtime.  

I needn't have worried, it was fine, everyone got on and even if they didn't recognise everybody at first, after a little while they would somehow click back into perspective and suddenly there would be a shout of, hadn't we used to go to Mary Stevens Park with those boys from the Bluecoat School and then all these memories of boyfriends and school trips, concerts and scivving off, came flooding out.  

Three of us found we'd all been out with the same boy!   

It was a lovely time but why have I come home feeling depressed?  

Three of the girls didn't recognise me. Having said that there were some that hardly anyone recognised.   I know they didn't recognise me because I am so overweight. That made me feel bad.  

Even worse, I came home and downloaded the pictures I'd taken. OMG, we're not just middle aged, we are bordering on elderly. Yet we all talked and laughed and joked just as we did at school.   A good time must have been had by all, as we met at 12.30 and when my son picked me up at 4.00 I left three girls still chatting.  

They say youth is wasted on the young, how true is that!   Why is it now, when I feel so much more confident and have more interests than I ever had before in my life, do I have to take on the exterior of somebody of no consequence, a dumpy middle aged woman who looks unlikely to have anything of interest to say? Someone you'd walk by in the street and not notice.  

If nothing else, today has strengthened my resolve to lose another couple of stone. Thank god they didn't see me when I was fifteen stone!  

The only thing I can feel smug about is, my hair is totally natural, no grey at all. I'm the only one that doesn't have to spend £50 a month on a colour at the hairdressers.  

There was talk of getting together again but maybe overnight at one of those large Country House Hotels, just for adults, that do 70's theme weekends. It sounds a lovely idea if we all dressed up and did the whole role play thing but is does mean I will certainly need to lose some weight if I'm going disco dancing all night.  

Now where in the loft did I leave my red leather mini skirt?

 

(Don't ask what is going on with the font here, I have no idea!)

7 comments:

rachealcarol said...

That was a lovely entry, very touching and I'm just aww at the letter and pictures for rememberence day.  It's been 34 years since you last met your friends, I would find it difficult if I met mine now to recognise some but I think it's great that you do, the next one will be even more fabulous. Rache xx

andrewfrnd said...

Another fantastic entry. It is very true when you say youth is wasted on the young as we get older we get more skills and talents, we just need the stamina to utilise them along with our experiance.

tillysweetchops said...

Wonderful entry as usual Linda. I always get a lump in my throat during the 2 minute silence unless I'm in Tescos and then I just feel awkward (I try NOT to be in Tescos) and of course watching all the old soldiers laying their wreaths has me in floods (and all the while the Chavs are just rolling another joint!)

About the reunion. What we want to know is was there a murder? You've always got to have one of those at a reunion! (Actually, Ben Elton who I loathe, wrote a thoroughly entertaining book on this very subject  which was absolutely brilliant - can't remember the bloody name of it though) and talking of reasons to be cheerful, hows "That" for another coincidence?

It seems to me that you and I should consider a synchronised cyber-slashing of the wrists, what with the millionaires that have slipped through our fingers (oops steady!) and then the "colluding".

What a bleedin' life!!

Your fan,

Tilly x

jaymact1 said...

Hi had started reading your journal a while ago then lost your link and tried everything to find you again.  Found you today on the message borad.  Great entry really enjoyed reading about your reunion and the lesson you gave to the kids. I am older than you and retired, just, and I received a letter last week which started to older people and the elderly it was about a new type of bus pass we are getting in Scotland but it made me fizz as I don't class myself as an older person. Enjoyed my visit with you.Love Joan.

http://journals.aol.co.uk/jaymact1/JoansMusings/

beckiepainton said...

Hello, I work in a shop on an estate and every kid that bought a poppy, I asked them if they knew the meaning of Poppy day, some had a brief knowledge, some had no Idea so I filled them in on the details and they were suprisingly interested.Great Journal.Ill be back.Beckieboo.
http://journals.aol.co.uk/beckiepainton/beckieboo/

buz2282brad said...

Hi Linda, It always makes me mad and sad when I read about the great war. It makes me want to rip the medels from the officers who murdered thousands of men for a few yards of mud.
Merry Christmas when it gets here.   Albo the hiker.

lindaggeorge said...

I know what you mean, it all seems so bloody futile. If you read my next entry,I have just siad my daughter is expecting a baby in June, as the child will be half German and will probably be born in Germany it does make it all seem all the more pointless.