School days are supposed to be the happiest days of one’s life. At least they look that way in retrospect. But I can honestly say that my first day at school was the happiest day of my life up till then.
I was five years old. I remember being walked to Elba Lane’s Primary School in Glasgow with my mother, dressed in my best, whatever that was then. I particularly remember how shiny my shoes were, probably because they were brand new. They carried me into the Infant Class, which I thought was instant heaven. It was filled with toys of every kind, it was surrounded by coloured cards and pictures and everything that was rampantly joyful to an infant mind. I dropped my mother’s hand as if it were red hot and made immediately for a bright red and black Post Office van, which I commandeered immediately for my own use, despite the squeals of protest from other infants, whom I had never noticed till that moment. I don’t know what my mother did, she must have left while I played happily in this newfound Paradise.
But nothing lasts forever and when it came time to come home, infants were yanked up and hurriedly dressed in coats and I was suddenly left all alone but quite happy in the middle of Toyland. When my mother came to collect me, I refused to go. She called on the infant teacher to help. Both of them tried to convince me to drop the toys and come away. I was adamant I was not going anywhere. The janitor came in, presumably to lock up, at which my mother grabbed my hand and dragged me out kicking and screaming.