Welcome to year two of our weekly series of ‘link-up’ Posts which reflect on life’s journey, old memories and family stories (see below for more info).
Picture the scene. 300 young ladies are sitting with their white-socked-legs crossed at the ankles, hands in laps. A sea of navy is dotted with bottle green school ties, and a plethora of 80’s hairstyles adorn the ancient school hall which oozes history from every oak panel.
The students have filed in to the hall in strict age order, youngest first. Once the proceeding are over, they will exit in orderly rows in the same manner. The sound of Mozart accompanies their entrance to this assembly, a little scratchy and tinny as its source is a 12 inch vinyl classic, spinning beneath the needle of the portable record player at the front of the hall.
The Headmistress enters with a Garbo-like flourish. The girls rise as she takes to the worn stage in black gown and comfy shoes. Her ever-present pearls nestle between her modest turtle-necked breasts, and the ceremonies commence.
There is, as always, some giggling and quite a lot of yawning (not the Head, obv.) The girls are revived for the final climactic throes of the assembly, and the traditional singing of the School Song.
Ah, memories! I despised the pomp of the Grammar school which I attended, and yet cannot deny being pumped with patriotic pride when the magnificent chorus of this ancient anthem was sung at full pelt by a full contingent of pupils. A bit like the hymn ‘Jerusalem’. So very English. So very outdated. So very embarrassing.
For your pleasure, the lyric…..
Where the iron heart of England throbs beneath its sombre robe,
Stands a school whose sons have made her great and famous round the globe.
Here’s no place for fop or idler; they who made our city great
Feared no hardship, shirked no labour, smiled at death and conquered fate;
Forward therefore, live your hardest, die of service, not of rust.
Forward where the scrimmage thickens, never stop to rub your shin;
Cowards count the kicks and ha’pence, only care to save their skin.
Oftentimes defeat is splendid, victory may still be shame; Luck is good, the prize is pleasant, but the glory’s in the game.
Forward where the knocks are hardest, some to failure some to fame;
Never mind the cheers or hooting, keep your head and play the game.
Yes, really. It is etched into my soul, even now, 30 years on. I must have sung it A LOT.
Did your old school have a school song or anthem of some kind? Can you still remember the words or tune to it? I’d love to know if it was just me who had to endure this pomposity, or whether it was just one of those things we did ‘way back when’ as a hang over from the good old days of the Empire?! Join in with a comment, or write your own Blog post and share in on our Linky. A new theme every week, always nostalgia based.
Whatever you do, do justice to your memories – they are my bread and butter.
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A selection of other posts from this series:-
Week 2 – Old School Portrait
Week 4 – Bestest Friends
Week 5 – Teenage Crushes
Week 6 – First Movie Memories
Week 19 – Becoming a Parent
Week 25 – Old Boyfriends
Week 39 – My home town