One of the things I really love about this time of year is all the "First Day of School" photos posted on Facebook. It doesn't matter if it's first day at Nursery, or Infants School, or the move to "Big School",
just the sight of all those hopeful faces, atop the brand new uniforms sends the Usher gene into overdrive.
Thanks to all my Facebook friends who shared their photos - I wish every one of your
little ones (and bigger ones) well this week.
I couldn't wait to go to school - but way back then you had to have celebrated your fifth birthday before you could enter the hallowed halls of Rush Green
Infants School. My father used to tell me a story about a little girl (called Jacqueline, what else?) who wanted so much to have someone to play with but, as my father would relate "all the other boys and girls had gone to school...." to which
I would apparently always add, wistfully: "Cos they were FIVE!"
My first teacher at Rush Green Infants was called Miss Chisnall. She had a large spot on her chin from which three wiry hairs sprouted
indomitably. It was incredibly hard to concentrate on reading or number work when Miss Chisnall and her hairy chin bent over your shoulder.
I still have a letter written to me by Miss Howard, the
headmistress of my Infants School. Through the mists of time, I remember our class was having a Fairyland Party and, because my handwriting was particularly good in those days (oh, dear, how it has deteriorated over the years!) I was given the honour
of writing the invite to Miss Howard. (We also had to invite each other, I seem to remember. I had to write to "Fairy John". It would never happen today...)
Miss Howard's response to my carefully composed letter belied completely her rather stern persona: "Dear Fairy Jacqueline," she wrote, "Thank you for your invitation. I shall fly down the corridors at two o'clock and meet you at the beautiful
gates of Fairyland." And it was signed "Fairy Howard."
To all the little ones starting school this week and next - I wish you, too, a little bit of magic to help you on your way.