Back in my high school years we had English Literature with Mrs Spencer, where we had to study The Merchant of Venice, The Trumpet Major and several WWI poems.
To this day I can still recite parts of Shakespeare and enjoy this literary genius, but have all but forgotten about the boredom we suffered when studying The Trumpet Major. Me and my buddies just wanted to play football, cricket or rugby, girls weren’t even really on our radar back then, nor alcohol and definitely not a Thomas Hardy classic.
To liven up our classes I sat with Mark, Mark and Paul at the back of the class, where we regularly rotated our seating confusing the deskbound Mrs Spencer, as she shouted at Mark and the other responded and likewise for Paul. Why she did not split us up is probably because we were, just naughty, but nice boys.
Outside of school hanging out with my close pals and yet again playing football, garden hopping and knock-a-door run, was how we spent our winter evenings and during the summer, yes we had them back in the 1980s in England, we played cricket. Mark, his dad and I used to regularly watch out great Liverpool team of the early 1980’s sweeping aside all attempts to dethrone us….ahh a long long time ago in a galaxy far far away!
Strange that the bonds formed in these formative years are so strong that even though I lost touch with the two Mark’s yet remained close with Paul (Benny) I connected with Mark (Dizzy) online a couple of years back. I had moved to South Africa and him living in Adelaide, South Australia. So the excitement to meet up with him since the 1990’s and to meet his family, was probably only matched by his similar feelings. We had just drifted apart doing different things never really falling out and you know we all get wrapped up in our own lives.
It was so cool then that we stayed with Mark and seeing him at the airport and me shouting “Dizzy” made him smile and followed by a warm embrace to start a fun catch up and reminisce about the old days, whilst creating some new stories in Oz.
After staying with Mark and his amazing girls, Anne (wifey), Tash and Izzy and meeting his friends, I felt so fortunate again on this journey of ours, to have made a friend, albeit not a new one, nevertheless, a great friend who I connected with.
We are both a little older, a little wiser, certainly less hair, more life lines and definitely slower runners…but I wonder if both of us had actually understood the words of the Trumpet Major and paid more attention to English Literature, would we have experienced our re-kindled moment…who cares! Thanks Thomas Hardy for the learning point of a long story……even if it was 32 years later for us.