Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Kambala girls

Paddy sent this last night (must be sorting through her papers). There we are, front row centre, kneeling on flagstones and smiling sweetly, that's Kambala grit for you.

I can name every girl in that class, even Sue Leebeater who missed the photo. Julie Jellicoe isn't in the photo either, nor of course Louise Allen, they had both left by then, dear Louise to another school, Julie to an institution.

It is strange to see those faces and instantly feel the emotions of those times; the girls we were mean to, the ones who were 'in', the ones who were strange. The blithe way the girls who came up from the B class were known as 'B girls' for evermore. Yet there we are for all to see, sweet seventeen year old girls, good girls, even the bad girls.

I really loved Kambala. To me it was Angela Brazil, Schoolgirl Jen at the Abbey, tradition and old-fashioned rigour, intellectual snobbery (which I aspired to then), year-round wool tunics, bloomers, hats and gloves at all times outside school grounds. I loved the old house but not the new classrooms, all brick and concrete with inch gaps under the doors and NO HEATING WHATSOEVER. We sat in our gloves, sweaters, blazers, and still had chilblains.

Norma, Paddy, Siena and I sang the old school dirge at various times while driving this last visit: "Fair hill of flowers, where dwells our secret treasure..." What were they thinking?


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