Perchance he for whom this bell tolls may be so ill, as that he knows not it tolls for him; and perchance I may think myself so much better than I am, as that they who are about me, and see my state, may have caused it to toll for me, and I know not that.
Come the dreaded Monday morning we dragged our feet from home to school. As we made our way along Oxgangs Park the bin men were usually out collecting bins. For some reason it introduced a little excitement. The bin men were always animated and loud and the air was full of dust from the ashes of the cleared fires, but I don’t recall anything ever happening, apart from an occasional car being delayed.
|Old entrance to Hunters Tryst Primary School|
As the term drew to a close there was the excitement of The Quali and then come that last week of June, when the school bell rings out for the last time, for those in Primary 7 the world comes to an abrupt end and a new beginning. It happens in the blink of an eye, like a guillotine coming down hard and quick - a brutal act. And we're all knowing, but unknowing. It sounds like a normal bell but in reality and borrowing from Donne is more akin to a funeral bell, signifying the end of school life at Hunters Tryst and the end of the inter-connectedness of social life there. We spend days, weeks, months and years sharing a life together and then it's all over and we go our separate ways.
Similarly, it was The Stair which brought us all together, but unlike life at Hunters Tryst, The Stair as we knew it died a slow, insidious death rather than the cold, clean sounding of a bell. And as mentioned in one of the very early vignettes, The Gap In The Curtain, because The Stair is still there, in a strange way we feel that if we enter through the front door of Number 6, that we can pass seamlessly through to another dimension, to another world, to the world of the 1960s, which of course no longer exists.