Welcomed by Clockroom Monitor (Candida), and Label Prefect (Diana) together with form teacher MISS Kellett, into the class room, where a strict MISS Kellett took the register, and checked that all homework (ie memory books) was done, and handed in. Tick
‘Please Miss can I be excused?’
The Head Girl passed around a satchel into which we put what we imagined we once did, and this included a jar of tadpoles, various sandwiches, a packet of cigarettes, a lip stick….
We were tested on our 7 times table (Miss Kellett, it was observed cheating with a swot sheet)
‘Please Miss can I be excused – I need to go to the toilet?’
The Head Girl asked us about Prizes – who received prizes, what were they?
We recalled particular teachers, Miss Seed from Gill’s past life and Miss Kettle whose patience teaching Mary to Knit left handed, are a strong memory – left handed in those days was discouraged, but Miss Kettle showed kindness prevails.
All things bright and beautiful
‘Please Miss can I be excused – it’s a bit late now.
After Tea Break, the pupils described as carers were summoned to meet the head mistress, aka Pam Schwitzer, who gave us some of her story, staring in the theatre, and from the age of 35 working with older people, migrating to people with dementia, specialising in Reminiscence Theatre.
We exchanged our experience of the course so far, our expectations and experiences. From Mary and inspiring testament from about Gorden who recalled exactly the tea party the following day, detailing so many elements of it, and with such pleasure. The importance of music was discussed along with the richness of drawing the memory (Particularly with Pete). Pam described how her husband Alex, for 20 years a volunteer on the project, would bring in tools, machine systems, which are particularly important for men remembering their work experience. We are stimulating the senses, which are alive and kicking even if the mind verbalization is diminishing. But memories are also awakened, like Robin’s of the radio in the home, which was connected by cable to the supplier down Magdalene Street (Norwich) which supplied the single station over the cable. This was a new story, unheard of before. There were prizes for these surprises not heard before from our partners!
The role of the books was debated, the weight of the homework. The importance of the books for ourselves and our children. A document of moments, not a life history. Will spoke about how Jackie was quite determining how the pictures in the book would be displayed, her own design background coming to the fore. A few were struggling with the captions, and Gavin’s wonderful italic writing was sadly missed.
How important it was for the carer to take care of themselves, was an important reminder given by Pam. Get people in to help you. A stranger working with your partner may be more stimulating as well as give you a rest. Your own story in the book of memory was just as important, to remember how rich your own life is.
Meanwhile back in the main room music and singing could be heard, with a football match outside.
the ‘naughty’ whispering on the back row to the Highland Fling with Gavin.
Overall, we felt the the growing confidence of individuals to take part: the ‘naughty’ whispering on the back row; how they ‘drove’ the dancing (Gorden offered to throw Virginia over his shoulder), the highland fling with Gavin, with suggestions of songs and dances they could do.