Tag Archives: high school

Post 26. “I have NO idea.”

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I thought I would die of sadness when Lindy and her family left for the States. We were 15.  It was as if my life had come to an end.  We wrote tear-filled letters to each other for about two years.  Brenda was my first best friend and Lindy was my second.  I wasn’t sure how my faith would hold up without her.Mondays were especially difficult for me.  The girls came back to school after a weekend of partying.  They asked me what I had done and who I had slept with.  There were many discussions about virginity and the loss of it.  They just couldn’t understand why I had decided to wait until I got married.

My subjects were Biblical Studies, French, English, History, Biology and Afrikaans.  I kicked myself over and over for not taking Domestic Science and Typing instead of French and History.  I wanted to be in Lindy’s class.  Then she went and left.

So much had changed, but I couldn’t seem to stay out of trouble. There was still lots of messing around in class.  I was totally unprepared for my final exams and I did a lot of cramming and crying days before writing.  There was NO WAY I wanted to repeat a year of school.

Gymnastics

To add to my distractions I was a gymnast.   I could tie myself in knots.  Wilf said the circus was NOT an option so I worked hard and qualified for the National Gymnastics Championships instead.  I never could point my toes properly and skipped all my ballet classes so I didn’t win a medal.  I kept doing it anyway.  Just for fun.

I was always first to finish my paper.  I filled in whatever I could and then put my head on the desk and slept.  Some questions were answered with “I have NO idea.”

Everyone was convinced I would fail.  They expected me to be back the following year.

It was a miracle that I scraped through,  by the skin of my teeth. When I walked out of those gates for the last time, they were amazed.  There was a song on my lips.  It was deep and profound.  I sang it loud and I sang it proud:

No more school

No more stick

No more dirty arithmetic

If the teacher interferes,

Turn around and box her ears

If she wakes up in the night

Blow her up with dynamite.

With that, my school years ended.

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Post 19. High School

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Sue and I went to Mitchell Girls High.  Unfortunately Sue’s reputation went before her.  I didn’t think that was fair. I never asked how that happened, but she was in trouble from the day she arrived.  One of my teachers made it clear that I would not be allowed to follow in my big sister’s footsteps.

Well, I really put on a show to make sure they enjoyed it.  The older girls loved me and dared me to do all kinds of things. I was always ready for some fun.  We started a false alarm fire drill and before we knew it, the whole school was on the field.  No-one owned up.  We bunked classes and met behind the pre-fabs where the big girls had their smoke breaks.

One day Lindy, Diane Stone and I decided to meet in the sick room.  We were having a great time laughing and chatting until we heard Miss Odell’s knocky shoes coming down the hallway.  We covered our faces with the sheets and waited for her to go past.  I nearly died of fright when she pulled the sheet off and marched us off to her office.  We had been there many times so she didn’t have to lead us.

Miss Beasley was our extremely thin, bug-eyed, lanky, black haired French teacher.  I don’t think she was well, but we didn’t think to ask.  We made her life hell.  We tied invisible cotton to both sides of the chalk and as she went for it, it was pulled from one side to the other.  We let off stink bombs, locked someone in the cupboard and told her we had no idea where the key was. The pranks were unending. She hated our class.

Michelle, the Australian exchange student was white blonde and red faced, especially when she blushed.  She did a handstand against the wall. Her dress hung over her head and her panties were displayed for all to see.  Mrs Beasley came in and commanded whoever it was to come down.  THIS instant!  She shouted and ranted and we laughed until we cried.  Michelle eventually came down, blood red and dishevelled.  Poor Miss Beasley was in tears once again.

During winter we had to wear black hats, ties and stockings.  They were awful.  The first thing I did was to cut the wire rim off my hat and moosh it until it was soft and floppy.  I had a real problem keeping my stockings from getting laddered and I was always getting caught for having my tie undone.

Getting home from school wasn’t easy.  We had to catch a bus into town and then one to Rolleston Place.  It would take more than an hour.  If I had detention or any activity after school I would miss the connection and arrive home after dark.  I often arrived home crying and full of fear.

Fear wasn’t a stranger to me.  Growing up in South Africa there was plenty to be scared of.

Post 16. Someone is always watching.

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Mowat Park (also known as “The Maternity Ward”) was our local girl’s high school, and that was where I was headed with all my friends.   New Forest Boys High School was where the fathers were.  News reached us that Sue was about to be expelled for ongoing bad behaviour. Val decided it would be a good idea to take Sue out and put us both in another high school outside of our area.  It meant that I would have to leave my friends. I made sure Val knew I wasn’t thrilled.

I was bold, cheeky, small, daring, friendly, bossy and cute and I had all the swear words I needed to keep people in their place. I was 13 and ready to take on the world.

To get to Mitchell Girls High School on the Berea, we got a lift with the Rutherfords who lived at the entrance to the circle, next to Mr Menzies.  Tommy Rutherford was a plumber with a big paunch.  He had three daughters, Janice, Tralee and Karen and a lovely wife, Marcia.  They were all really funny and we practically lived in their house.

When I was much younger, I found a metal wedge in someone’s garden.  It was small and smooth and it had a nice sharp side.  I was sitting on the carpet next to their wooden coffee table and I tapped it with the wedge.  It made an amazing design in the wood and I just couldn’t stop. By the time I was caught, the entire table was covered in my pretty wedge design.  I was the only one who was proud of me.  I had no money so Wilf had to pay.  Wilf didn’t like to pay.

They had a beautiful fish tank in their lounge and one day I was helping Tommy to clean it.  When he left the room I put my hand into the tank and started splashing around. A drop of water went onto the hot fluorescent tube and it made a lovely hissing sound.  There was also a little puff of smoke.  I flicked the surface of the water towards the tube again and again and again.  Seconds later there was an explosion of glass into the fish tank.  Tommy flew in and caught me with my hand still in the tank and panic on my face.  There were a few deaths but I survived.

Soon after that Tommy taught me one of the most beautiful songs I had ever heard.

“Be careful little hands what you do

Be careful little hands what you do

There’s a Father up above

Looking down at you with love

So be careful little hands what you do”

He went on to sing of the feet, eyes, ears and the song went on and on. When he sung it I felt loved by somebody.  For the first time in my life, I was aware that someone was always watching me.

Aside

My name is Linda Johnson. I am 53.  I have just recently got over some of my life long complexes and I am FINALLY able to swallow pills without gagging.  I have also decided to join the blogging bloggers of the world who all think that what they have to say is going to be interesting enough for busy people to give a hoot about.  Well, a few years ago I started to write our story for our kids and grandkids.  If they are the only ones who love to read this, I will be more than happy.  They are the ones who have travelled this road with me and have opted to stay on it through thick and thin.

Life is a long (longer for some) and winding road. It is full of hairpin bends and precarious edges.  It is on this road that we experience our freaky-iest and funniest moments.  Some of these I will share with you.

This is an autobiography,  so to get the most from this blog, please go to Post 2  and read it like an upside down book.  Enjoy 🙂

Post 1. Finally!