I’d much rather forget about those first days back at school, thanks.

I can still remember the smell of the pencil shavings. The smell of my school bag and freshly polished school shoes. I remember setting out all my school clothes the night before and the excitement of the first day of school. Yet, if I have to be totally honest, excitement is not exactly the word I’d use to describe my feelings of going back to school…

You see, the first day back at school was never pleasant for me. Not only was I a very shy, reserved child, but I have some pretty awful memories which make me shudder every time I think of them.

Three in particular that I recall…

The first was when all the Grade 2’s were waiting for their names to be called out by their new teachers. Someone insisted they heard my name, and so I excitedly followed my new teacher to my class only to find that my name was not on her list. I frantically raced back to the other children, but they had all left. I was stranded and had no clue where to go.

The second memory was Std 2 when the teachers were calling out the names of the kids for their new classes and instead of calling Bronwynne Loots (my maiden name), my teacher called Bronwynne Boots. Laughter ensued and I was mocked for many years to come by all the cruel boys (and girls).

My third memory is Std 3 when a good family friend who was in Std 5, dared me to run across the athletic field and if I did so, he would give me R5 (trust me, in 1985 this was a hell of a lot of money!) So I did. I ran and ran and ran! As I got halfway across the field, I heard the school bell ring for the start of class. But this didn’t stop me. Unfortunately, as I got to the other side and turned around, I saw that everyone was gone. GONE, including Roger and that when I finished my run and got to my class, I got detention. Roger still owes me R5!

Oh how I sometimes wish I could go back to school with what I know now! The first thing I would tell myself is that silly little events like these don’t matter. That in life, there are much bigger things to worry about. In fact, it’s the attitude and coping when things don’t go the right way that has made me the person I am today!

Good luck boys and girls!