Walking Home from School

My primary school was half an hour's walk from our house.  My parents were both non-drivers and the school was not on a bus route, so my three brothers and I walked to and from school every day.  When we were younger, my mother walked with us, but when I was eight or so, it was my responsibility, as the eldest, to walk us all there and back. 

     Of course, by the time I was eleven, I would walk alone, both ways -  the boys being old enough by now to walk together, without big sister. 

    I don't remember much about the walks to school.  Probably, I was too bleary-eyed and half asleep to take a lot of notice.  I've never been much good with mornings. 

  Most of my school friends went home by bus or car, so I was alone on the walk home.  I didn't mind.  I have always been happy with my own company.  Sometimes, I walked part of the way with a boy in my class and his big sister, but I was always glad when they reached their house and left me on my own, to dawdle, and do my thing.

    My thing varied.  Sometimes, in fact, most times, I would sing - all the way home.   Pop songs, hymns; a song we were learning at school...  I would sometimes repeat the same song, over and over till I got it right.  While I was singing, I wasn't walking home from school, of course.  I was on a stage, wowing the audience with my beautiful voice.  About that time, I was reading a series of books by an author called Noel Streatfieid, about a girl called Gemma.  She was a child star.  She acted, she sang.  She played the banjo.  When I sang my songs, on the walk home from school, I was Gemma, standing on the stage, being spotted by a scout, whisked off to a recording studio.

    Sometimes, I didn't use my walk home for singing.  If I was reading a particularly good book, I would read all the way home.  And yes, I bumped into things sometimes, and people.  I didn't mind.  I was only eleven.  You can get away with doing things like that when you're eleven.

    When I didn't sing, or read, I would dance home, especially if the weather was good.  Sometimes I threw in the odd dance move when I was singing, too.

    Sometimes, I talked to myself.  I used to make up plays on the way home and act them out.  One day, I came home, to find my mother having tea with a friend, who told my mother she had seen Tricia the day before, walking home from school, chattering away to herself.  I think I stopped singing and dancing and talking to myself after that, but only for a week or so.  It was what I did,  It wasn't doing any harm, and it kept my mind off the other things in my life.  The scary things.  But that's another story.

    The walk home from school took half an hour.  It didn't feel anywhere near that long.

The End

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