In 1972, The Boy went to Dunblane Primary School for the first time. Wearing hand-me-down grey shorts that were too big for him and an uncomfortable shirt and tie, he walked from his house in Murdoch Terrace each day to the school. It was a five minute walk and his mum had decided early on that he was big enough to walk to school on his own. He was almost five years old after all.
He liked his teacher, Mrs Carmichael, she was nice. The classroom was huge with big windows all along one side. He sat behind his desk, swinging his legs, as the teacher wrote her name on the blackboard. His classmates, he noticed, were all taller than him. He didn’t realise until years later, it was because he was one of the youngest in the class.
Perhaps being so small was why he made pals with another wee boy. At playtime they could play tig or British bulldogs with the others on the concrete playground or, if it was raining, they played in the bikesheds. His wee pal said he lived down behind the school. He talked about going to Jean’s to buy sweeties. Jean’s must be a shop, The Boy thought, a shop with lots of sweetie jars. Imagine that!
The Boy had never been beyond his own street, although sometimes they played in the field behind his house. That was ok as long as you didn’t wear red, because there was a bull in the field and bulls hate red. Thats what his big brothers told him anyway. The Boy pointed across the school field. “Thats my house there” he said “that big house”. His pal looked doubtful. “Aye, right!” he said. The Boy was insistent, his pride was at stake here. “I’ll show you at lunchtime” he said “then you’ll believe me”.
At lunchtime they sneaked out the school gate and walked quickly round to The Boys house. At the back door, The Boy struggled to move the heavy black bin. There was no key underneath. Disappointed, he tried to salvage the situation. “Lets play on the clothes line!” he shouted and ran over to the drying green which was a square with four metal poles in each corner. He jumped several times before he managed to grab the clothes line with both hands and soon he was swinging back and forward. His pal was impressed and joined in, the two wee boys laughing as they swung higher and higher.
The fun ended abruptly as there was a loud crack and both boys fell to the ground. The Boy scrambled to his feet and looked at the broken metal pole lying on the ground. “Shite!” he said. It was the only swear word he knew. The two boys stared at each other then, without a word, they both ran back towards the school.
That night at the dinner table, The Boy sat quiet as his mum and dad discussed the mystery of the broken clothes line…and why the bin had been moved. It was a mystery which remained unsolved until today when you, dear reader, came across this strange story !
PS I think it was Mrs Carmichael in P1 and Mrs Currie in P2. Definitely Mrs McFarlane in P4 and Mrs Angus in P6. Cannae mind the others tho.