Next weekend. I’ll be travelling to my hometown – Pretoria, to visit my family there and attend a Loreto Old Girl’s reunion.
I have been asked to say a few words at the event, as two copies of my novel, Under The African Sun, will be given away as prizes. So, needless to say, I have been thinking about my school days and what they meant to me.
I spent twelve years at Loreto Hillcrest and matriculated in 1972. Our class of twenty + girls, got to know each other pretty well in that stretch and by the time we reached matric, we were an extremely close-knit group. We had each others’ backs, no matter what! Were we a model class? Well, maybe not…Was I a model pupil? No!
I never took much notice of the logo, Veritas, which was initially neatly sewn onto my blazer. By the time I matriculated, it was hanging by a thread. But it entered deep into my sub-conscious and today I can honestly say it is how I try to live my life. Being truthful and authentic is vital to my being. Lies, even little white ones, were neither encouraged nor tolerated at school. Bullying was another no-no and there was very little of that, in my experience. Considering others at all times and remaining humble, no matter what we’d achieved, were also values which remain among my core ones today. If I had to highlight the one I preach at every opportunity, it would be respect – deep respect – for every human being I come into contact with.
Loreto Hillcrest, also gave me the grounding for the spiritual life I have today. Slowly but surely the world is beginning to understand that IQ means nothing, without the addition of EQ and SQ. Who you are as a person, is far more important than what you have accumulated. Sometimes, we need to stop and reflect on that, least we get caught up in the rat-race.
Did I love every minute of my schooling? I would be lying if I said I did. I got into trouble for dreaming (a lot) and not doing my homework everyday. I apologize to my long-suffering teachers for that! My excuse at this late stage, is one that I quote in many lectures.
“Imagination is more important than knowledge!” (Einstein himself.)
Seriously, there was not a single day that I didn’t want to be at school. (Shirley, what happened in Vegas stays in Vegas!) I loved my classmates at school and treasure their support and love to this day. When my siblings and I lost our father, tragically, it was the quiet support of teachers and school friends, which held the space for me to heal.
I can honestly say that being a Loreto girl helped to form who I am today. It is an integral part of me and returning to my roots, feels as if I have come full circle.
I look forward to seeing many of you at the reunion. You may just need to ignore my watery eyes. The dry air does that, you know 🙂
P S Thank you Sister Marie-Eustelle, for encouraging my interest in literature. (Sorry about the oranges!) My love of English saw me through university and has put bread on my table for the last 39 years. I bet you never thought I’d follow in your footsteps.