I am sitting in one of the passenger seats of the Dial-a-Ride van while Driver Dev is loading up Mr B and his trusty wheelchair with the help of an electric ramp and a remote control at which Mr B (who loves few things
more than a remote control) gazes, longingly.
As I look out of the open door, a young mother passes by, accompanied by an extremely smart young man in the distinctive
uniform of the local comprehensive. I can tell, from the stiff newness of the blazer and the fact that his tie is properly tied and his school shirt is safely tucked in, that here is a Newbie. The mum and I exchange knowing smiles. Not a word passes between
us but a wealth of feeling. Today is First Day At School for her little lad like many another youngster.
Grandson Sam, Eldest of the (Not So Very Little)
Welsh Boys also started at Secondary School today. His father duly sent me lots of photographs of his eldest son looking quite startlingly grown up. I admit to feeling more than a little teary at the sight of him but then what do you expect from one afflicted
by the Usher Gene? There will be more poignant moments to come this week as granddaughter Hazel Bagel heads off to follow her dreams at Arts Ed on Thursday and Faris the Rascal embarks on his career at Hook Primary School on Friday. It will be New Beginnings
for all three of them.
Later in the afternoon, Mr B and I FaceTime Sam to find out all about his first day. We can always rely on Sam to tell us chapter and verse
of any experience, in this case the precise chronology of the day, more or less hour by hour, including the exact number of minutes expended on break and lunchtime. He has already made a new friend, written out his timetable and got lost on his way home. No
worries, he soon found his bearings. In every sense of the word.
I am impressed by the efforts of his teacher to help the students get to know each other. To start
with, each pupil had to write down three things about themselves - like, I have three brothers, I live in a bungalow and I love lasagne. No, not me, I only have two brothers, I live in a house and I really, really dislike lasagne - I'm just giving you an example
in case you are struggling, Not having been there with Young Sam in Form 7L this morning, you understand. The completed lists were all mixed up, each pupil taking one and then trying to identify, through asking each other questions, the author of the list.
After that, working in threes, they had to find out as much as they could about each other. Sam and I marvel at the fact that all three boys in his threesome have two brothers.
Who would have thought it?
Sam is going to call us again tomorrow to tell us all about Day Two. He sounds excited and happy. It would be good to think that every
child starting at a new school will be every bit as content as Sam - but inevitably some may be finding this Rite of Passage difficult.
Roald Dahl wrote back with encouraging words when a young school-girl called Elizabeth told him how hard she was finding it to settle at her new school. His sage advice: “Try to imagine you like it, because I've heard that what you imagine sometimes
He added: “When I hear that you are happy again and the maker of music and dreamer of dreams, I shall dance and sing and nod and
nod with my mouth bulging with Cadbury’s best chocolate and other gloriumptious things.”
What an amazing letter. I do hope Elizabeth, whoever
she was, discovered for herself the power of imagination, that she did indeed make music, dream dreams and was happy.
I think my Sam is going to enjoy school
life. It will surely be full, as Roald Dahl with his inimitable way with words would say, with all manner of gloriumptious things.