Gosh, what a day. As you know from my post back in March, I was rather apprehensive about going back, as one of the girls who bullied me was also going to be there. I had arranged to meet my Naughty Friend, who I have not seen since we left school, as well as a couple of other girls, Orville and Vivienne Ferret, who I was really looking forward to seeing. Also, to my delight, Denise Gnasher contacted me the night before to say she was going with her family and, although we’ve kept in touch, we’ve not actually met up for nigh on seven years.
One of the first people I saw as I approached the Old Girls’ Marquee was the bully. I wouldn’t have recognised her and I said so and she appeared to be ill at ease. I didn’t have a chance to speak to her alone, but as the conversation progressed among the group and I made the point that we had all been sent to the school in order to be safe, that many of us were bereaved or had very dysfunctional home lives. Wasn’t it a pity, therefore that, because of the behaviour of other girls and certain members of staff, it turned out that we weren’t emotionally safe at school either. I saw the look on her face and left it at that; she had been as troubled as the rest of us.
The rest of the day was spent touring the school, seeing all the wonderful changes that have been made, and exchanging histories and reminiscences with many other women who had come from all over the country to share the day.
We talked to lots of the girls who are still at the school, as well as one of the current House Mistresses and they listened wide-eyed to our tales of how the school used to be. The girls were obviously very happy there and the whole feel of the place was one of nurture and contentment and it seemed impossible to them that we had lived in such a regimental and strictured environment and had never thought to complain.
It was a cathartic day. The last time I went back I was very bitter that the school had changed and become such a comfortable place, too late for my generation to have had the benefit of it. Now that my children are growing up, I am genuinely delighted that it has become such a healthy, happy school full of lively, well-adjusted girls.
Ghosts well and truly laid to rest.