No, not really, but the other night in one of my dreams he was. I don’t know why I am so sure he was God, but God he was. Not even the god I worship either, but there in my dream, a big bearded chap, with open-toed sandals and socks, a tweed jacket with leather elbow patches, and I knew without a shadow of a doubt this was the chap responsible for Christianity. Teaching me mathematics. Analyze that dream if you will!
I don’t often remember my dreams, but there are two exceptions to this rule. Dream one that sticks in my mind for reasons that will become clear when I tell you about it, was about Rod Stewart in a sparkly red Speedo. Yes, the aging rocker clad in nothing but a scarlet pair of swimming trunks that were covered in sequins, reclining on a chaise lounge. I have no idea why Rod Stewart. I have no idea why a red Speedo. And I sure don’t have a frelling clue what was up with the furniture! Who knows what he was doing in my subconscious that night, but there he was. There are times my brain is just too scary a place.
Dream two have come to be called my “Millfield dreams”. These dreams are set at the school I used to go to and are populated by people I knew there.
I was very, very lucky growing up that we were near to a private school system that was prided on its academic excellence. My brother was in the local State school till he was about seven, but he really didn’t get on there, earning a reputation for stupidity and laziness. My brother is intelligent, fiercely so, but he needs a rocket lit under his arse to get him to do anything. Catch his interest, engage him, and he will astound you. In a class of around 30, he just wasn’t getting the attention he required, so he coasted – hence the stupidity rap. As soon as he was old enough, determined not give up on the son she knew had a brain if he just cared to use it, Mum enrolled him in Edgarley, and he never looked back. By the time it came for me to start attending school, the Millfield system had opened a third school in the area, Abbey, designed for pre-Edgarley aged kids (three to eight). I loved it there. When the time came to move up to Edgarley, I loved it there as well. I was a bright kid who was given access to motivated teachers and pushed to be as good as she could be. I was never in a class with more than 15 pupils so had enough attention to make sure I didn’t start to coast (like my brother, if I don’t have someone standing over me with a pointy stick I find it hard to get going). I was given the opportunity to do music, art, languages, drama, and all sorts of fun extra-curricular stuff most kids don’t get the chance to.
Once done with Edgarley (aged 12) I won an academic scholarship and was off to Millfield (the senior school) all excited and expecting more of the same. On paper, that’s what I got. I had the same great teachers, same wonderful opportunities, same brilliant environment for a kid who wanted to learn. Alas, teenagers are a lot quicker to pick out on differences than younger kids. And most of the kids at this school were rich teenagers. I couldn’t afford the designer gear. I wasn’t sporty. I was short and plain looking. I was a band geek who liked science… I was different enough to stand out, but not different enough to appreciate individuality as a good thing. I was also very, very ill for the majority of my three years there. Quite frankly, it was hell on earth and I couldn’t get away fast enough – when I was given the option to stay on at Millfield to do my A-Levels, or to enroll at the local community college, I jumped at the chance to go to Strode. It was during my A-Levels that I started to appreciate people might actually like me for my wackiness and individuality.
So why do I dream with such nostalgia about Millfield?
I should say now that it was actually just a small number of individuals who made my life such misery during those three years, and that I didn’t exactly help my self. I did make some very good friends at Millfield and I do have some very happy memories of my time there. I also appreciate the chances and opportunities I received – just, I was glad to leave.
One of the odd things about Millfield for me was the people – most of these people I had been to school with since I was eight, as we’d come up from Edgarley together. Some of them I had even known from the age of three and the Abbey school. I still have vivid memories of hitting John MacQueen over the head with a Tonka truck on the first day of Kindergarten. I reminisce fondly of playing with Tim, James, Neil, and Olly in the playground – I can trace my love of story-telling to those wild adventures we crafted for ourselves aged six. I remember meeting Lizzy for the first time and how we rarely not at each others side for nearly eight years. I get a smile on my face when I think of Ed Wilson. Thoughts of Katherine still make me grin – now there was a girl who embraced her individuality, regardless of what everyone said. And Mary Gould… Hmmmm, now there was mutual hate at first sight now I think on it. These people were the landscape of my childhood and, whilst everyone seemed to undergo a Jekell/Hyde transformation once we hit puberty, I still miss them.
I want to see them again to see if they remember the same things that I do. I want to see if they have changed as much as I have changed. Perhaps slightly childishly, I want to see them again so I can go “look, I survived. I’m happy now. This is me regardless of what you think”. I want their love. But I want to be wildly successful before I see them again, so I can rub their noses in it. I want to know how they all did. I want to know if they were as happy as they looked, or if they were as unhappy as I was. I want to know why they stopped talking to me.
I have no idea why I dreamt that night that God was my maths teacher – much though he would have liked us to believe it, my maths teacher was not a deity in any shape or form. I’ve also no idea why, in my dreams, I seem to regard Millfield so fondly. Is it my recollection now that is fuzzy and warped to the dark side, or my nocturnal adventures that are wrong? Nor am I totally sure why my Millfield dreams are the one set of dreams that stick with me into waking, but clearly this is a chapter of my life I am in serious need of closure on.
Um, anyone know what Ed Wilson is doing now? 😉