|Scotch rock and bananas
||[Jul. 21st, 2016|10:13 pm]
I had a phone call yesterday from my scool friend S.: that's nothing out of the ordinary, she does call from time to time. And she was in a state of excitement, but that's not unusual either.
What she was burning to tell me concerned the retirement of Miss Chapman, who had been head of the school when we arrived there aged 11. She was an imposing personality*, and although this is over 50 years ago, I remember the sense that we were diminished by her departure, and that her replacement was a lesser woman. But S. has a specific memory, and that was what she wanted to talk about: that on Miss Chapman's retirement, every girl in the school, all 600 of us, had been given a banana and a piece of what she called 'Scotch rock' (I think of it as Edinburgh rock, but I wasn't going to argue). And that although she had spoken to a number of her contemporaries about this idiodyncratic gift, none of remembered it, until she began to wonder if she had dreamed it (although she was sure she hadn't).
It doesn't at all surprise me that I don't remember it: there's so much I don't remember (it's why I value this diary so much); I don't actually remember S. mentioning it before. But evidently I wasn't the only one who had no memory of the parting gift, and it had been beginning to bother her.
The good news was that A. had come to the rescue: she didn't remember it herself, but she had written to B., and B. remembered it clearly, and added the detail that there had been a special assembly, so that we could be allowed to eat the spoils straight away (as I suppose we would have done, allowed or not). So S. is vindicated, and triumphant.
*That must be her on the right of this photo from the school's website, and since it shows her presiding over the School Birthday celebrations in 1964, I'm probably somewhere in the ranks. But I digress...