This column first appeared in the current edition of the Manx Advertiser – although the accompanying picture is an exclusive (unless you’re a former pupil of Bredbury Green Junior School in Stockport).
I had a trip down memory lane last week, after making contact with an old school chum from more than 30 years ago.
As is the way, the contact was online after I discovered a group set up by people who went to my former primary school.
The message conversation went along the lines of:
‘Are you the Paul Speller I remember from Bredbury Green juniors?’
‘I suspect I am as your name rings a bell, too.’
‘I’ve got an old class picture that you may be on.’
‘I’ll be the one with bad hair and NHS glasses.’
‘Yes, you’re definitely the Paul Speller I remember.’
But I was relieved to discover that I wasn’t the boy that many people were describing as ‘horrid’ on a well-known social networking site. I felt a bit sorry for him; even if the others were right.
It is approaching class photograph season in the schools; they often like to get in early before uniforms are ruined and, in particular, to record the early school days for children in reception classes.
There are some things people need to bear in mind on photograph day.
The first is – and my opinion is personal, but I stand by it – top buttons done up on shirts without ties always look wrong. No boy should look smart when at school. The powers that be will deny it, but a uniform that is not untucked, unbuttoned and slightly disheveled, has a sinister, Stepford element to it.
Bunny ears behind the person next to you are now okay, David Cameron has said so*. The teachers may not agree.
Don’t say ‘smile’ to children. Have you ever seen the facial expression you get when you say ‘smile‘ to a six-year-old? They look like a Picasso creation. Tell them a joke or blow a raspberry and then take a picture. They’ll be smiling – naturally.
Do keep the class photo as well as the individual shots. Thirty-five years later, there will be endless fun remembering everyone, particularly who was horrid.
*Admittedly, when you look at the size of the rugby player who did it, he wouldn’t dare say otherwise.
Can you spot which one in the class photo is Paul? If so, please keep it to yourself.
Follow Paul on Twitter: @Norbertsdad
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