There I was, sat on the bank at the back of the school. It was a sweltering hot day. I mean really, really hot. Rivulets of sweat ran down the back of my least favourite school dress. (I was always told that ladies don’t sweat. “Horses sweat, men perspire and ladies glow”, but rivulets of glow, doesn’t quite give you the picture.) I was wearing my cardigan too. Madness, I hear you shout.
Our summer school uniform was a cotton dress. In those days you couldn’t just buy them from M&S or Asda. My mother had to buy yards of the school fabric and make it up herself. It was horrible material, turquoise blue with something reminiscent of a Greek key in navy all over it. Much too busy.
I had two dresses, one with long sleeves and one with short. They were both so short in length that I couldn’t sit on the material and laddered my tights with great regularity as there was so much leg exposed. In those days we used to just put nail varnish on the end of the ladder and sew it up in a long stripe when we got home.
So why was I sat there on such a hot day in my cardigan? Well you see puffed sleeves were in, but I don’t know what on earth my mother had done to the pattern. I suspect that the sleeve pattern piece was the whole piece, but she had taken it to be half, as I had nothing short of balloons, barrage balloons at that, at the top of my arms under the cardigan. I was so ashamed, that I would rather have sweated until reduced to a stick than take off that horrid itchy cardigan and expose my mortification.
I sat there with everyone else in their cool short sleeves, trying not to faint. If I even thought about taking off my cardigan, I could see those pointing fingers and hear the name calling, just as if it was happening.
The joy of schooldays! Do you have a memory to share?
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