Touch of 64 Up Seasoning

15/06/2019 // by Jan Moran Neil

‘Touch of 64 Up Seasoning’ by Ms Paige Turner
Last May 2018, ten former pupils from my primary school met up after 53 years. We did a tour of the Ark Oval Infant and Junior school where our education began in 1959. We are just one year older than Michael Apted’s ‘7 Up’ documentary series which has followed a group of children every seven years throughout their lives. ’63 Up’ was broadcast recently and I was, as always, simply captivated.
Apted, now at 78, looks more than faintly like God, although he has, and I think succeeded, not played that role with his interviewees. What he has said is that the documentary series is a testament to ‘the ordinary life’ and its premise is based on Aristotle’s famous statement, taken up by the Jesuits: Give me a child until the age of seven and I will give you the man.
And so to this year’s primary school reunion. Nine of us met up again this May for lunch as a couple of the girls traced couldn’t get to us last year. Last year had been both magical and surrealistic: having the faces of children in one’s head and then seeing them fully formed but still quite patently ‘in there’. I didn’t expect this year’s meeting to live up to that first rendezvous. But it did.
We kind of discovered that the kids you play with become the people you truly know. Trish told me about a play ‘what I wrote’ when I was nine and performed it. She even remembered the plot line – someone got murdered – and I was tempted to write it down for future use. You see, I was doing it back then. And as Angela said – and I add both she and Di were always vying for top of the class and one or other managed to do it every term, never pulling rank on the rest of us – ‘When you’re kids, you’re raw. When you’re moving into retirement, the same rawness descends.’ Or something like that. I will be forever grateful to Angela for taking me into her warm sleeping bag on school camp when I had stuck my feet out of the canvas and got myself drenched. I like that word ‘rawness’. In the child is the same tone of voice, the same slant of the lip, the essence. Here we are back again:  only just slightly modified – raw with a touch of seasoning.
Creative Ink for Writers’ Evening Workshop in Amersham: Wednesday 3rd July at 8.00pm. ‘Keys to the Kingdom’. How Fairy Tales help us understand The Story. £18 for workshop, follow up notes and Catherine’s notorious nibbles and wine.

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