School day memories

I know that Mom being away for six nights wasn’t easy for any of us but luckily for me i did sneak in some personal time. When I was in London last week I got the opportunity to meet up with two old school friends for dinner. Now when I say old I mean it in terms of the time we have been out of school – 20 years this year – and not in how we have aged because honestly I think we look better now, 80’s styling was not always that attractive! But I digress.

Spending time with Mandy and Lesley Anne we got to reminiscing about days gone by, friends and family and of course some of the ridiculous antics we got up to at school. We were all together at Potchefstroom High School for Girls which is largely a boarding school.

I was late in coming to the school only joining mid way through standard eight so thankfully escaping being a junior in the boarding house. Having come from a co-Ed day school in Johannesburg it was a difficult transition for me and what happened in my first two of weeks of boarding school ever didn’t help.

I promise, and those that were there can attest to this, that the following incident is completely true, it may appear as something out of a movie but it happened and in Potchefstroom of all places! Before going on, I need to give you some background.

Potchefstroom is a largely academic town built to accommodate children from the surrounding farming areas. It has a university, boys and girls English high schools and a number of Afrikaans schools. It is also the biggest town in what was formerly known as the western Transvaal housing a large amount of churches, shops, medical and sporting facilities, and a mental institution known as ‘Groendakkies’. Also, just outside of the town was the army base.

I was settling into the routine of boarding school in a dorm which I shared with Rebecca (who was a year above me) and Stephanie and Beatrix (same year) who were on the other side of the half wall that divided our room. We were in the last dorm on the ground floor in North Wing, East House. One night after about a week or so of being there we heard some shouting outside and Beatrix called me to come and see ‘the boy playing with a pencil’. Needless to say it was not a pencil but rather his private parts!

We informed our housemistress, the boy was caught and it was discovered that he had been in Groendakkies but had recently been released into his parents care.

Two nights later, I woke in the middle of the night to find said boy climbing through the window on my side of the dorm. He had used a large rubbish bin as a step and broken off the horizontal burglar bar which he was holding in his hand. Needless to say I started screaming at the top of my voice and ran down the passage to Mrs Malherbe leaving Rebecca frozen to her bed. The boy was caught once again and returned to Groendakkies.

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Other than some army boys trying to break into the hostel to steal our bashers (hats) as part of their initiation and the odd snuck in Potchefstroom Boys High boy during visiting hours on a Sunday afternoon, we didn’t suffer from any other unwanted male visitors!

We did however get up to lots more mischief as you do in boarding school but although we thought it was so bad at the time, it was completely tame.

Some of the antics included hiding in a quad and tanning in our bikinis instead of school costumes – highly illegal, bunking out to go swimming in the school pool late at night, holding hands and kissing at school dances, smuggling old brown sherry or in the case of Lesley Anne Cape Velvet in to hostel and drinking said sherry with Oros – not recommended, not wearing regulation school underwear and so it goes.

We were so protected and in our own little world of bush post between boys and girls high – actual written letters, Saturday mornings downtown, movie nights, school dances, church, slap chips at the corner cafe, lunches at Mikes Kitchen after weekends out etc.

From someone who was so anti Potchefstroom Girls when first informed by Gagga and Grandpa I was going there, I am now appreciative of the time I spent there and the memories made. Dad also went to boarding school at St Albans and I am sure will one day share with you all that he got up to.

Special times indeed!

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