Thanks For the Mammaries

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.

friends since the age of three (mrscarmichael)
friends since the age of three (mrscarmichael’s mother)

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.

Although taught in this building I am not in the photo because I'm probably at a desk outside Betty Fraser's office (Evening Post archives)
Although taught in this building I am not in the photo because I’m otherwise occupied at a desk outside Betty Fraser’s office doing maths (Evening Post archives)

18 thoughts on “Thanks For the Mammaries

  1. I always knew you were a brave woman, Mrs. C, and going to an old school reunion requires more courage than I possess, that’s for sure! Love that photo of you aged three, what a fantastic expression. And aren’t the old friends wonderful? There’s something so comforting in being known and liked through the ages.

    1. I agree however did move on for my 6th form to a lovely co-ed school.
      I had a ghastly time at this one made liveable by my friends only. Might tell a few more stories – they will with hindsight be funnier.
      Thanks re pic – my mother took it so she was probably taking too long.

    1. All the elderly ladies who didn’t hear and wondered why people were laughing and the young girls who couldn’t believe someone of our age would say that and the Mayor’s face!

      I had a ghastly time there but it would make a good book. No naughty step in the class and I wasn’t with a group of 20 yr olds either. It’s pouring today so no practice.
      I’m off to see Blue Jasmine at an arts theatre with a girlfriend. Perfect.

      1. Have fun at Blue Jasmine. I hope you like it. It’s basically a modern version of “A Streetcar Named Desire,” which I don’t care for and thus I didn’t care for the movie. But hopefully you’ll enjoy! 🙂

      2. loved the movie – I guess because of Cate B who I thought was fantastic. I think Woody dipped in and out of SCND but for all that really enjoyed it and also enjoyed the backdrops and bling 🙂

      3. Good, glad you enjoyed it. I guess I always want the happy ending and hoped she would pull out of it and get her life together. I didn’t want the depressing ending of “Streetcar.” Especially as I’ve been feeling like I’m going off the deep end since I returned home from Oman, and I was looking for something hopeful and positive! 🙂

      4. Well you got it didn’t you? Her Birkin handbag was gone symbolising the end of that part of her life (the Streetcar) part and she was off for more of Einstein’s medicine.
        I don’t mind a realistic/sad ending but I guess it’s a little like watching hospital dramas. You can only do it when all around you are well.
        What can you plan to really look forward to? That’s what I do and like you it mostly involves travel (just not to China!)

      5. I am planning to go to California in January to visit my sister near LA and my close friend near San Francisco. Because my job is so low-paying here in Virginia, I’m going to have to back off from travel, either that or go abroad to teach again. The only money to be made in ESL is abroad, sadly. 🙂

    1. I cannot tell you how much better you’ve made me feel. Gonna’ edit my first draft in December! Woooo – rebellious or what?

      Now I just have to stop their flood of emails and tweets…..

  2. Bet in those days of long legs and short skirts nobody’s reunion speech ended up, Thanks for the mammaries!
    Rotten school days, great reunion — one out of two ain’t bad.

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