Knowing that I was planning a trip back to the home country, my oldest (length of friendship-wise) amiga suggested, somewhat forcefully, that I tie my Antipodean antics in with an upcoming Wellington Girls’ College reunion scheduled for around or about my travel time.
Knowing how much I hated my years at the school it’s a wonder she mentioned it to me.
For my part, knowing the pressure of her persuasive powers and their relentless nature I accepted the offer of a bed for the duration and a seat at the, almost, top table with alacrity and just a modicum of that feeling you get when you’re doing something naughty.
I was, according to the powers that were at WGC in the early 1970’s, always doing something naughty. Or downright bad. Or worse. If requested I could fill this blog spot with my back catalogue of heinous crimes against the black and gold school colours for the remainder of 2013 and well into the new year. And actually would quite enjoy doing it. Catharsis and all that I guess.
The frisson of fear I felt was there for good reason. I assure you of that.
Not so my friend C……. who enjoyed her time in these halls of learning, her daughters who proved to be loved and accepted members of the school society and her sister Ruth who is listed on the present website under famous old girls along with Katherine Mansfield and Anna Paquin no less.
C……. was organising the reunion – top to toe and her sister producing all the fab food for the three day fun fest. In such hallowed company this was going to be a breeze. I began to wonder if I might even enjoy the experience.
And bits of it I did.
The parade through Wellington’s CBD I could have done without but the new Principal, Julia Davidson’s, speech beside the Michael Fowler Centre gave me cause to have a ponder positive as to if I could, indeed, have been happy there under her teaching and care.
Unfortunately Betty Fraser and Olga Harding were in charge of my education and pastoral provision which explains why I did most of my lessons in the corridor outside their office. But I digress as the learnt fear mounts in dark corners of my soul.
Back to the reunion.
The gala dinner was not only yummy but more fun than expected and there was most a generous amount of wine allocated per head. My next day was a write off it must be said.
The highlight of the weekend for me however was not my level of liver poisoning but C…….’s wrap speech in the school hall. In front of hundreds she thanked the attendees, introduced the dignitaries and spoke of her fond recollections, her years at Wellington Girls’, the wind and vertical rain in Molesworth Street that we all were forced to pit our wills against, her comrades, friends and the school spirit.
I was on tenterhooks through the entire speech because I knew what was coming. If she didn’t chicken out. And my friend is not the chickening out typa’ gal.
“Wellington Girls’ College,” she said slowly, clearly and with great elocution. “Thanks for the mammaries.”
She handed the microphone to the Mayor of New Zealand’s capital city. It was not easy for him to be heard above the applause, laughter and women asking their neighbours if they had heard her correctly.