Sunday, 17 July 2011

60th anniversary of Wymondham College

Am I mistaken in my taste for revisiting my past? It's inevitable, I suppose, for anyone past middle age. That's why I'm also relishing Maggie Nelson's Google-trip round her youth – brilliant!
[Read it on .]
Of course, you must always be prepared for disappointment when the beloved places of your memory no longer match the “improved” realities...

I first attended an Old Wymondhamians (say 'wind-hay-me-anz'!) reunion in 2006 and experienced a mix of that let-down and excitement. After a gap of 40 years I had been surprised at how many people I could still recognise through the wrinkles and grey hair – both mine and theirs. But I'd also been fazed and a little embarrassed by not knowing those who claimed they remembered ME! The weirdest thing had been hugging my former English teacher and calling him by his first name.

On this second return there were even more impressive new buildings and old familiar faces. And I was better prepared as I went as part of a group who have been in tenuous contact during those intervening 5 years. There was one woman I recognised for whom this event was a 'first time' – and she had the look of a rabbit caught in headlights. She'd always been a nervous type from our days as Primary School playmates, and being away from home at boarding-school had added to her worries. I was a bit surprised by her opening remark that I was to blame for the way things turned out. She did say it in a throwaway manner, and perhaps meant it as a joke. Our fathers had both been strong-minded, and I guess neither of us had much choice in where we were being sent to be educated. The 60th anniversary reunion was clearly a watershed and an ordeal – hope she goes back as I think the ghosts will have been laid.

 My old school seems nothing like it used to be in the Sixties. The buildings and the ethos have changed – Victorian values flew away with the retirement of its first headmaster, Raymond V. Metcalfe (known as Muz to his not very respectful pupils). My English teacher had confessed this had been as much a relief to the members of staff at the time as it must have been to the students. Almost wished I could go back for a term or two! Hmm, perhaps I'd better not get too carried away...
The old school as I knew it back in 1959 - all black corrugated iron!

                                                                           Splendidly transformed by the time of its 60th birthday...

Elizabeth Fry Hall - my hall of residence

The fabulous new Sixth Form complex

If you're curious read more about it on

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