Remember when…

With a visit to my old secondary school and a look through a pile of old photos, the weekend turned out to be a mini trip down memory lane.

As I mentioned in a previous post I spend more time looking forward than I do back but as the move to Devon is getting closer, I thought I’d take the opportunity to go along to a special anniversary open day and have one last look at the place that shaped my teenage years; my old comprehensive, Commonweal School.

How weird it felt being back. I’d really expected it to feel much smaller than my school year memories suggested, but if anything the beautiful old Victorian building felt as big as when I first set foot in it over 30 years ago. Wandering round, visiting old classrooms, walking the corridors and taking in the surprising familiarity of the place, I couldn’t help but remember the old teenage anxieties that used to trail around behind me – feelings of shyness, of not being clever/funny/pretty/trendy/popular enough, of trying to blend into the background and not be noticed. People say school is the best years of your life, but for me it wasn’t. Call me weird but being a grown-up (or at least trying to be one) suits me so much more – give me adult worries over teenage angst any day! But it was good to go back and say goodbye to the place.

As for the photo’s, well, as Baz Luhrmanm said in his song ‘Sunscreen’:

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth, oh, never mind
You will never understand the power
And the beauty of your youth until they’ve faded
But trust me, in twenty years
You will look back at photos of yourself

And recall in a way you can’t grasp now
How much possibility lay before you
And how fabulous you really looked
You are not as fat as you imagine

And boy is he right! Looking back at old family photos that have been rescued from their dusty home in The Parents loft (yes, The Parents are finally talking baby steps to prepare for the move), we couldn’t get over how young, slim and carefree we all looked, yet at the time we’d have looked at the pictures fresh from the developers (yep remember when you used a camera, with a film, to take photos and then had to take said film into get developed so you could see what you’d actually taken pictures of?) we’d have been pointing out the wrinkles, new grey hairs, or commenting on how fat we looked. Now, with the power of hindsight, I look back and realise The Parents really were bloody young parents (they were in their early 20’s when I came along) and not as embarrassing as I believed them to be. My legs were actually slim, not chunky as I’ve judged them to be, the blonde hair/tanned combo suited me and, despite personal belief, I really hadn’t been beaten too heavily with the ugly stick. Oh if only we’d have all realised. But will we learn? Of course not because then hindsight would be redundant!

Pictures taken during late 90’s and early 00’s

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