Notes from West London · On writing

A thousand stories I can’t tell you right now

Last year, in this piece about the word “Journal”, I wrote about a Reunion Lunch at my old school, the first such event that I have attended. Of the seven people in my year who were there, five of us are connected through Facebook. I assume that the other two do not have Facebook accounts, like many other people I know. In all there are around 20 of my old classmates in my list of “Friends”. There are several people there that I have not spoken to since leaving school, and there’s a strong chance that I might never meet them again in person.  

In recent weeks there has been a flurry of posts, updates and messages regarding a forthcoming Annual School Dinner. I will not be there, but I did make arrangements to meet a couple of people from my school year and have had had a few enjoyable evenings (drinks, dinner) catching up with them. There are also plans for a more sizeable unofficial reunion next year, primarily arranged through Facebook. It’s scheduled for 25 March 2022, at some yet-to-be-determined pub, probably in Hammersmith.  

There was a similar event in 2013 when at least 20 of us gathered at the same pub we used to play pool at on a Friday night. There were guys from my school year, and from the years immediately above and below me, and women who attended our sister school. At least two of the people who were there that night have died in the intervening years. A couple of attendees who reconnected after not seeing each other for at least 20 years are now married.  

Much of that evening in 2013, and many of my meetings with old classmates since then, involve stories about our contemporaries. There are two people in particular that everyone wants to know about. I was in touch with them (and with members of their family) for longer than most. I hung out with one of them regularly, from school days right through to 2000, when he … well that’s the thing.  

I am happy to recount the stories in person, but this Blog is not the place to document, in detail, the lives of people I was at school with. Having told the same stories over the last ten years to a handful of old classmates I have started to type them up. But I can’t share them with you here. In recent weeks I have also typed tens of thousands of words about my father. I have always hoped to tell my mother’s story properly and did not expect to spend much time writing about my father. But the words kept coming, and they don’t really show him in a favourable light. Between him and a couple of guys I was at school with there are at least a thousand stories I can’t share with you right now. Maybe later, and maybe in person, but not here, and not now. 

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