This is the year when my old school friends reach their 60th birthdays. I reached mine first a few months’ back, and it’s interesting to see how other friends’ lives who were in our little ‘gang’ at school have panned out as they cope with this great milestone. I have kept in touch with all the ‘gang’ since our last day at school in June 1976.
I shall be going to a 60th birthday party on 19th May after the Bloggers’ Bash for one of my friends, who seems to have hardly aged at all. Tall and willowy, she never married, but still loves to dance the night away at any over 40s disco she can find. She works in marketing, and long ago gave up ever finding a life partner. She is happy enough on her own in her South London flat and is quite set in her ways now, but I think she still carries a torch for the father of her 38 year old son, a nasty piece of work who rejected his son many years ago.
Another friend of mine was always very overweight at school. After she left home she commenced a regime of healthy eating and shed half her body weight. She secured a top level job, married a hugely overweight guy high up in the insurance business, and started him on the same diet! They never had children, but are now retired and live near Cheltenham, are very wealthy, and travel all over the world. She’s enjoying life at 60, and in fact is coming to stay with me at my ‘van’ in July. We shall laugh a lot…
Another of our gang (whom I dedicated ‘For the Sake of a Child’ to) succumbed to Huntingdon’s disease about 3 years’ ago. We visited her in her nursing home for years. Her mother died of the same disease, and she purposely never married or had children due to this reason. She always perked up when we came into the room. Her brain was perfectly normal, but by the time she had reached her late forties/ early fifties, the disease had robbed her of her mobility and speech.
There’s another one who married at quite a young age. After a year her husband told her he didn’t want to be married anymore, and left! She married for a second time and this marriage has lasted, producing two children. She works as a ‘dinner lady’ at her local school in South London. Her son went to University to study engineering, and her daughter works with horses.
One friend became pregnant at 15, and it was quite a shock at the time! She disguised the pregnancy for as long as she could, but then left school hurriedly. Our headmistress at the time gave us all a lecture on the dangers of pre-marital sex! My friend went on to marry the father of her baby, and eventually had 4 more children. The marriage lasted, and she has always been a contented stay-at-home mother.
There we were back in the 1970s, giggling schoolgirls all of us. None of us knew what the future would bring. Perhaps, thinking about it, it’s better not to know.