15. End Of School
The end of my schooldays sort of drifted up on me. I had no feelings about not being a schoolboy any more. I had hated – if that’s the word for the pit-of-my-stomach churning each day – every moment of my scholastic career. I can remember not one day in school, either Christ Church or Wolverhampton Grammar, when I felt happy or even not miserable. In fact, not one hour.
Most lads were looking forward to going on to other things: University or working in offices and climbing up the social ladder. I had never known “what I wanted to be when I grew up”. (I make the joke with my grand-children now that, at the age of seventy-plus, I still do not know.)
There were, of course, some boys who would be staying on to go into the Sixth Form. They tended to look down on the relieved rejoicing of those who were about to leave.
That rejoicing included writing rude messages to one’s final Form Master on the blackboard, using bad language in front of Prefects, simply hanging around in the Quadrangle between (and during) lessons, and – just before walking off the premises – flushing one’s School cap down the lavatory.
All those things were contrary to the School Rules, of course, even the flushing of the cap because it was an offence to leave the School grounds in school uniform without wearing one’s cap. Goodness knows why the cap was such an essential piece of clothing.
Anyway, I made no fuss about leaving. I cannot remember actually walking off the premises. But I recall clearly having no feelings at all walking between the School and the top of Larches Lane on my way home. I wore, for the very last time, my complete School uniform.
I did not even wonder what I was going to do from that time forward. I had no thoughts nor ambitions regarding a career; all I wanted to do was play jazz trumpet.
Sun., 9th May, 2009.
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