Tuesday, 3 February 2015

The Isleworth Grammar School Class of '72 Reunion

My two recent articles about the Worple Road Primary School reunion held last November (see here and here.) both exhausted and frustrated me. Exhausted because of the feeling of exhilaration the whole occasion brought to me, and frustrated because I lacked the words to truly do it justice.

Last Saturday's reunion of my old classmates and schoolmates from Isleworth Grammar School (which went on to merge with Syon to form today's Isleworth and Syon School) at the Old Isleworthians' Club was similar but different in equal measure.

WOODEN PORTALS

I suppose I must have been a clever pupil at one point, otherwise I guess I would never have ended up at IGS, a selective state school, in the first place. All the same no sooner had I breached its varnished wooden portals than I resolved of an instant to clown around and to get as little schoolwork done as I could get away with, the result being the rescheduling of earlier aspirations to Oxbridge into scraping an entry to Manchester Polytechnic and thereafter flunking my first-year exams on account of the fact that I had barely set foot in the building, let alone opened a book, in all the time I was there.

So when tales were exchanged amongst the curious little circles that formed, broke up and then regrouped with an altered line-up, of the things we had achieved
in our respective careers since all going our separate ways back in 1979, this humble postman had somehow to hold face amongst the doctors, lawyers, property developers and musicians in whose company he stood.

And it wasn't too daunting, to be honest. In truth I'd been a councillor the last time most of us were gathered, back in 2002, which although not a career as such was as good a talking point as any. So rather than having started at the bottom and worked my way up, like so many of them, I could feasibly say I had started somewhere in the middle and worked my way down.

GENEROSITY OF SPIRIT

What struck me was the warmth, the charisma and the generosity of spirit that each and every one of my old school friends exuded. Perhaps the often clumsy approach to character building on the part of our old masters at which we had for so long scoffed had had something about it after all? It was throughout the whole of the evening a wonderful experience, and truly surreal.

We were a bit light on numbers considering that most of us as I write remain on this side of the mortal divide, and we were grateful for the presence of several of the old girls (that is old in the sense of having been "former") from the Green School, with whom those with an inclination to drama or to sport had spent much of their sixth form, although I didn't really know them other than latterly as contributors to the various
old school Facebook threads. It was a goodly gathering enhanced by friendly staff and a well-stocked bar.

ROOTED

We dispersed amid a fond discussion about when we might do it again. Another thirteen years seems far too long as time and age power relentlessly on. Living in Isleworth an annual event would seem ideal to me. To those who had travelled further for the gig, one of them from California, probably less so.

More than ever before I feel the need to be firmly rooted in my roots. One of my old classmates admitted to me that at school he used to consider me obnoxious. I told him he had probably been a sound judge.

I'm sure I would have enjoyed senior school much more had I not played the fool, but I always enjoyed the company of those around me. What a fantastic evening last Saturday was. Special thanks to Richard Andrews (no relation) for laying it on once again.

Photos courtesy of Malc Shaw

4 comments:

Gary Perkin said...

Nice report Phil

Bluesology said...

Ah Phil, hindsight is a wonderful thing and I guess all of us would do some things differently if we had our time again. What struck me about Saturday was how cordial and easy the atmosphere was given that many of us were like strangers after in some cases 38 years since people had spoken to each other. After the event, it also struck me that I think our year was quite a special bunch of lads who still want to remain in close contact even after all this time. Keep up the blogging and look forward to the next time. Malc

caroline andrews said...

Lovely Phil glad you enjoyed it :-D

Priya Chotai said...

i went to Worple in 1990's... heartl full of patriotic feelings.... x