Wednesday, 26 May 2010

The Gallery. Friendship....


Twenty three years ago, I shared a dormitory with three friends at boarding school.

I've posted before about what an ordeal boarding school was for me, but one thing I did get out of it was some very close friendships*.

At 14, E, J, A and I were the geeky girls in our particular boarding house. There was another crowd of girls who were all very sporty, Sloaney and snobbish. They spent their holidays going to Gatecrasher Balls in London, riding horses and snogging boys who went to Eton. They were casually cruel to anyone who didn't fit their particular mould.

In contrast I was the weird one who lived Abroad and was always making up poems and stories. A and J were brainboxes; it probably didn't help that A had a dreadful perm and J was gawky and goofy. E wore thick NHS glasses and had a Midlands accent. We were definitely not the cool crowd.

I guess we were kind of thrown together, but we became great friends and the friendships lasted right up until the end of the sixth form. Afterwards, we inevitably grew apart but have continued to meet up from time to time. And they are all amazing. J has had a stellar career in banking as well as fitting in two boys; A moved abroad and has worked all over the world while her husband looks after their three kids. E has gone from nursing to a mega-successful career in healthcare management. When she moved to London for work a few years ago, we began to meet up regularly again for nights out, and she has become a kind of quasi-godmother to the Littleboys (they aren't Christened, so no official godparents).

This picture was taken a few years ago when we met up at Kew Gardens. I'm in the middle, pregnant with Littleboy 2, between E and J. A was taking the picture. There's been so much water under the bridge since boarding school and we are all very different now. But I feel lucky to know such gorgeous, talented and interesting women. And so glad that I was not in the cool crowd.

*This post is for The Gallery; this week's subject, friendship. Go over there to take a peek at some stunning photography and incredible posts.

10 comments:

Bush Mummy said...

How lovely that you've stayed in touch...

I loved boarding school and made some firm friends but I am with you on the girls being cruel thing..

although I think I did go to one or two gatecrasher balls.. how embarrassing??!!

BM x

Dumdad said...

Lovely post.

I went to public school and I still am friends with several guys I've known since I was 11. That sounds a bit sad but actually we all went our different ways after school - living abroad etc - but stay in touch.

We all have our own separate lives and careers and kids but when we meet we don't hark back to the "good old days". We are all so relaxed in each other's company. We know so much about each other and accept each other for what we are.

(Brings out hanky and wipes away a tear).

Booperkit said...

Who wants to be in the cool crowd, your friends have substance.

Nappy Valley Housewife said...

Lovely post. My 14-yo is dealing with this now. Why is it that the mean girls in her school are considered to be the 'cool' crowd? I work so hard to instill values and self-esteem in my daughters so that, hopefully, they will 'find their own', the way that you did. It's not always easy to buck the trend but I tell my daughters that, if they're true to themselves, they'll be stronger and happier in the long run. And your post is proof that this is true.

A Modern Mother said...

I love old friends, so nice you all still meet up. Mine are far, far away.

nappy valley girl said...

BushMummy - I think everyone of a certain age and boarding school probably went to something similar actually! I just associate them with those girls at school, but I bet they were fun.

Dumdad - it's so true, friends like this know you better than anyone....

Booperkit - absolutely!

NVH - It just seems to be the way of teenage girls, sadly. I really hope your daughter gets through it all OK. When I look on Facebook at who has done what in life, I'm so glad I stuck to my friends.

A Modern Mother - we do it rarely, but it's worthwhile. I'm also in touch with some even older friends from when I was 5!

Calif Lorna said...

How lovely that you've maintained your friendship all this time. Old friends are the best.

Belgravia wife - sort of said...

What a great photo and how nice that you have stayed in touch. I still see my best friend from prep school some many decades later. I do worry for my daughter a little though, I went to an all girls school and I see the girls 13 going on 25 around here and I worry....xx

bubbleboo said...

What lovely pictures - and it just goes to show that the cool crowd is not always the best place to be!

Metropolitan Mum said...

Look at the three of you! You might not have been the cool crowd back then and felt like the ugly ducklings - but certainly you are three beautiful women today. Inside and out.

PS: Never been one of the cool crowd either. I was so blaaand...