Yesterday’s theme was Autographs – do you collect them? What do you do with the signatures?
I have a rather battered autograph book that I have kept since September 1971 when my parents moved house from East to South London, causing me to have to leave my grammar school and attend an all-girls secondary modern on the other side of the Thames nearer to our new home. It still has its original flowery cover and zip fastener.
On the last day at my old school I took the autograph book into my classroom and asked my closest friends and favourite teachers to write some little rhymes, or simply to sign their names. As the years went on and I left school to begin work, my sixth form friends, old boyfriends, and immediate family also signed the book.
Sometimes I open the book and try to remember the classmates whose signatures grace the coloured pages, and wonder what they are doing now or if they are even still alive. Many of my immediate family are no longer living, and it is somehow comforting to me to see their familiar writing still as fresh as when they wrote their names over 40 years ago.
One rhyme still sticks in my head; it was the rhyme that my best friend Diane scribbled down on 21st July 1972. We are still friends today, and I’d like to share it here. I don’t know where she found it or who the author is, but I often think about it:
‘I walked a mile with pleasure, she chatted all the way, but left me none the wiser for all she had to say. I walked a mile with sorrow, and ne’er a word said she, but oh the things I learned from her when sorrow walked with me’.
Here’s a signature from my grandmother, long since departed this life, but sometimes I like to look at it and remember:
Have you got an autograph book? If so, whose signatures are in it?