Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The day the music died

I don't know about you but I've remembered dates for almost as long as I can remember anything. One date that sticks in my mind is February 3 1959, Tuesday. If you're older than I am you may remember that as the day that Buddy Holly died (The Day the Music Died, Don Maclean). If, as seems likely, you're younger than me, that day might even have been outside of your existence.

I don't remember that day as the day that Buddy Holly died though. I was too young to know about him or to care much for his music. Truth to tell, even today, nearly 51 years old, I don't much care for his music.

So why do I remember that day? I knew you'd ask and you knew I'd answer :-)

That was my first day of school. This isn't a memory imposed from a later date. I distinctly remember anticipating the day in January of 1959 and indeed I remember informing various importunate adults who thought they were indulging the cute 4 year old that I was starting school on 'Febuary 3'. I've since learned the correct pronunciation of February!

So came the day. Tuesday. School started on Tuesdays in those days in Australia; what day of the week they now use is something I couldn't answer. We did the usual tearful stuff. Yes, I bawled in much the same way that most 4 year olds do on their first day of school. I can still remember the smell of a cake of soap my grandmother put into my school kit; said kit then being placed into a shoulder bag. I don't remember anything about that first morning once I'd actually entered school. But I do remember clearly how my grandmother fetched me home from school at lunchtime.

*corny joke warning*

After lunch grandma intimated that perhaps I ought to get ready to return to school. I was shocked at the thought of returning. After all, they'd always said 'one day you'll have to go to school'. Well, I'd done my one day!

*corny joke over*

About a year later my grandmother decided that it was time I graduated to a real schoolbag. My father was still alive at the time; his old schoolbag from about 1929 was exhumed. Leather and with 'a real iron bar' for the handle part. I can remember the way my grandmother said 'real iron bar'; almost with reverence as though a real iron bar was something really special. For someone who'd lived through the great depression it probably was special. Nonetheless, when I found out that the 'real iron bar' was a chunk of iron perhaps an inch wide, 12 inches long and an eight of an inch thick it was somewhat disappointing!

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