|Me in Year 4 (9 years old)|
So to celebrate my 100th post, I'm going to explain what was going through my head at Chesworth Primary School.
It's weird and life changing when I have to move from one lifestyle to another, even more so when I passed from one school to the next level of education.
I ended up making a "good impression" *I say sarcastically* thanks to somehow walking into the wrong class in Year 3 on my first day. The 2 teachers Mrs Kemp and Miss Howett were looking after all the first years and I was supposed to be in Mrs Kemp's class but ended up following everyone into Miss Howett's by mistake. Whilst she was reading out the register, Mrs Kemp popped in and asked for where I was to which I put my hand up and she politely took me to the classroom next door. I don't know why I failed to prepare myself correctly, maybe I was just so frightened and quiet from suddenly finding myself in a new location with a few familiar faces plus loads of other new kids from different preschools. On the funny side, if I was a spy, my cover would be blown.
I forgot to mention in my previous school post that on my first day for having my picture taken, we actually had the pleasure of having a beautiful Barn Owl perched on our shoulders for our portrait. Regrettably, I can't find my picture anywhere... But that majestic owl was an odd but nice choice to have in 6 year olds picture haha.
After moving onto the next level in education, I had to be looked after in the mornings by a different family as Fiona couldn't do it anymore. I was so uncomfortable at first having to be introduced to a new family that Mum knew but they turned out to be great as well. So in my mornings in Primary School, I would stay round Geoff and Sam's house with their two sons Liam (my age) and Ben. There were some shocking mornings where sadly Liam would have an asthma attack and there would be pandemonium in the house and I would just be there watching everything happen with no clue as to what was going on or even how to help.
But I did enjoy playing the N64 with Liam and Ben where we would work together when playing Banjo-Kazooie and Super Mario 64 in the mornings and some days after school.
I remember on Liam's 6th birthday, he had a party at the Bowling Alley (back in the 90s before it got redone) and as soon as I arrived there and saw how many people were there (in general and for Liam's party) I suddenly became uncomfortable and emotional that I begged my parents to not leave me here. I remember getting so upset that I had to come home with them and to this day, I still don't know why this hysteria came over me and I made a scene on a friend's special day (I'm sure I didn't ruin it) but it's strange how sudden my comfort could change to such a drastic level.
I vaguely remember spending mornings for a couple months with a family up the road that I stayed with when Geoff and Sam couldn't have me. They were Richard and Clair with their children Dan and Gemma (I think Dan was three years older than me and Gemma was a year older than me). I remember spending the mornings staying in Dan's room watching him play The Lion King on the Sega MegaDrive and I had a go once or twice on the complicated platform classic.
Anyway, back to the school memories.
What can I say? I have fragments of several highlights/ moments in each year (from Year 3 to 6) at Chesworth. I sorta had friends since I was included in games on the playground (mainly running and chasing games). I remember Matt Bell who was a tall kid who I was on and off with throughout school for some reason. Though I do remember undoubtedly that he lent me his actual Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (White Ranger) Plastic Helmet which I spent a week or two wearing constantly and never wanting to take it off (like every child who's given a helmet of their hero).
I also remember that throughout Chesworth that Aimy, Crystal and Thanzeena were the C.A.T girls since they were inseparable and worked together like they were the Three Musketeers.
I'll get round to mentioning some more people a bit later on.
My only friend who also lived across the road from me was Lewis Scott, whom I saw every day. We were playing PlayStation, watching Pokemon, Cubix, Digimon and Beyblade (as well as play with the actual cards and beyblades) and everyday we'd go to each other's houses like the bestest of friends. I have so many memories with him and his older brother Tom. I remember when we purposely got busted whilst playing Metal Gear Solid on the PlayStation just so we could hear the ! sound effect. We also played through Oddworld 1 and 2 (well we actually used cheat codes to watch the cutscenes whilst failing at playing the game sensibly) haha.
I admit that we were on and off due to misunderstandings, fallouts and language between one another. Funny enough, it's from him that I learnt swear words and from the adult shows he showed me at such a young age including South Park including the N64 game haha (I remember those Turkey hordes). But I do remember talking forever and playing Pokemon on the GameBoy Colour and that we always had fun bike rides on our BMX's cycling around Horsham and Forest School and Millais (before the Keepers chased us off every time).
Though one important life lesson that I learnt from Mum and his mum was me him and several other kids were playing the roads and I almost got hit by a car for chasing a ball in the road. Mum and Sarah explained seriously (because they were scared for my safety) had to explain how dangerous it is and how I could have died. The same thing happened once when we walked their dog near Chesworth Pond and my foot slipped in and got caught in the weeds where I narrowly escaped being dragged in.
In Year 3, I enjoyed a few moments such as both classes having a group session where we'd watch the Matilda film since we were learning about Roald Dahl that month. Plus we learned about Michael Morpurgo who wrote great books like The Butterfly Lion and Kensuke's Kingdom (he actually came to the school to talk to our class, how sweet). We also read other children books like The Great Balloon Hullaballoo and the Goosebumps book series (I even watched the series here and then as a kid).
I know that at that age (8 years old), I distinctly had this odd theory that "If you stand in the rain and you don't stand in puddles, then you won't get wet". Call it what you will but for some reason other than me being highly autistic at a young age, I took this physics term so literal that to me it was my own little imaginary idea (I don't think I told anyone but I grew out of it after Mum and Dad kindly explained how incorrect I was).
In Year 4, I had Mrs Palmer as my teacher who everyone respected and thought she was kind and pretty. I did the same however I had one stubborn memory where I stubbornly and aggressively argued with her that I wanted to sit next to a friend since we were all seated in alphabetical order by surname. She kept calm during the argument but in the end she gave in to my terms and my Aspergers came out where despite getting my own way, I still felt bad for troubling her and I awkwardly apologised to her several times that day for arguing with her. Mrs Morrison was the support teacher for the class and to help educate a few here and then when extra lessons were done to improve reading and hand-writing skills. Another support teacher was Mrs Smith who did the same for the class next door, especially for Lewis since he needed some extra help with handwriting.
Mr Cohen was the tall and cool teacher next door that everyone like doing Maths with and I did too when the classes merged sometimes. I think it's nice when the classrooms merged into one lesson since it allowed us all to integrate in friendship and communication (plus the teachers got to hand out too).
I do vaguely remember a tall lady called Mrs Williams who taught in the other classroom too. One time when she was reading a story to us and she read a certain sentence or chapter, it somehow mentioned how a character swore revenge or would "get this other character back". Now I'd watched every Disney film out and that meaning struck my like lightening as it was a reference to The Fox & The Hound where Copper promised Tod "If it's the last thing I'll do, I'll get you for this!" as he swore revenge against him after Chief got struck by a Train. I had to admit this to her since I felt a connection from her words and in my head they related to the subject, sadly she wasn't interested or even understood my reference which bothered me heavily back then.
After school up till the end of 2002 (Year 4), I was still looked after by my godparents Dave and Andrea as I mentioned in my previous post of what I did there and how much I enjoyed it. But by Year 5, Dad began to work earlier at Royal Mail and would finish in time to meet me outside the school and keep me at home instead of sending me off to someone's house till Mum finished at dusk to pick me up.
One funny thing that I don't mind sharing with you lot is that I took many sentences too LITERAL and my learning got quiet muddled up during Chesworth. When Mum arrived at Andrea's, Andrea would say "Here she is!" to which one day she was shocked and laughing at the same time after I was upset and said "I want Here she is!"... this was just like that moment in Meet The Fockers when the baby learns a swear word by accident haha.
But during my last year at hers, I did get into Anime and enjoyed the usual cartoons and action shows and I also discovered Monster Rancher which was an excellent Anime that I need to watch again and maybe talk about.
By Year 5, I was with Mrs Halford who was a little more stricter but still a great teacher who kept us all in check. Mrs Howett ended up becoming a Year 5 teacher and I was jealous again that I didn't get to have her since I had a small crush on her haha.
I don't remember who but I always remember without fail that in 2002, Kingdom Hearts had been released on the PlayStation 2 and several boys were looking at the Strategy Guide that had been brought in. I had a skim through at the time and I was surprised and blown away at discovering a video game where Disney characters and worlds had been blended into a human like universe (Square Enix who do the Final Fantasy games). I regret not getting into the game back then but luckily I did in secondary school which I'll mention in that time and why the gaming series is now in my Top 3.
That year is also when classmates began to drift apart from me. Some boys were rude and some teased me with how my OCD would go crazy if they carelessly moved my Pencil, Pen, Sharpener, Rubber and Ruler from the corner of my side of the table. I remember Ray doing that a few times despite being my friend in that year but we were still cool, he just liked to tease me a couple times.
And of course, this was the time to introduce Sex Education to us all through a children's education level video. Now this subject is awkward to talk about and at the time, I sorta paid attention and vaguely understood it at my age and concentration level. Though I didn't fully pay attention, I subtly tried to ask the teachers for the video (this doesn't sound right) because I wanted to see it again as I felt stupid for having not paid enough attention like all the other children had. It hit me when they began discussing it on the playground and recap things to one another except to me.
Sometimes I would talk to the woman who watched over the kids on the playground called Mrs George who provided a comforting voice to when I was annoyed from playing with the kids. Pretty soon, I was introduced to her son Liam (one of my oldest friends to this day) who was in his final year. He played with me like a best friend and he actually was in Forest and Collyers.
I also had another friend called Jamie who lived not that far from the cinema. I really enjoyed being with him since he was my closest friend at school besides Lewis. I'd always go round his house and we'd play the Playstation and soon after the PlayStation 2 since I remember flashbacks to when he'd play LOTR: The Two Towers and battle Shelob as Samwise. I always stayed round his house because his Mum Margaret and his brother Daniel always enjoyed having me round and were very nice people. Jamie and me sometimes spent days trying to climb the tree and wall in his garden. When we went to sleep, I remember that he'd play an audiotape of the first Harry Potter book (I think I'll look into audiotapes for that series and several others as I need to get round to more reading). Unfortunately, near the end of Chesworth he had to move away to Herefordshire and I haven't seen him since. Though by chance, I found him on Facebook 2 years ago and saw that we'd gone to MCM Comic-Con that year haha.
My final year which was Year 6, is where I remember things much better and accurately.
Mr Tichband was a great man who everyone looked up to and respected. He was really patient with me since I had still never grown out of daydreaming and looking out the window instead of looking at him. I had teary moments when I came up to him and admitted that I hadn't been paying attention just as everyone began to work from his instructions. I also began to focus a bit on learning my Multiplication Tables since every week, he held a test for 5 children to answer his 10 random times table quiz and the winner would receive a small trophy to have on their desk for the week, that's genius and encourages Maths in a fun and competitive way!
Next door was Mrs King, a lovely lady with a bit of humour in her step who spoke confidently to us and made our last year enjoyable. She was also the Deputy Head Teacher!
I wish to admit in a respectful, honouring note that unfortunately, she passed away in 2014 and was a wonderful, kind lady and valuable asset in making the school (now called Kingslea since 2006 and is a joint school from St Leonards and Chesworth) what it is today. It's a sad thing having to learn this tragic news, but I want my friends from back then to know the truth even if sometimes "the truth can hurt". R.I.P Janet King!
The best thing and most challenging thing I did in Year 6 was going with both classes on a 5 Day Field Trip to Swanage. I was excited but on the day of leaving on the coach, I made a scene and cried badly having to leave Mum and Dad behind since I hadn't really been separated from them before over a small period of time.
Though looking back on the time I had, it was actually really wonderful. My class stayed at Tower Lodge Hotel and the other class was in The Sandhaven. We hiked to Corfe Castle which was long and exhausting but looking back, I'd do it again at my age now. The castle was amazing with chunks of it missing which we had to sketch and learn about. We also went to Durleston Nature Reserve near the Cliffs (wish I was could go back again, heck I wish I could do the whole trip again!)
We even went Crabbing near the ocean one night where funny enough, Aimy had dropped her lure off the Pier into the ocean. Like a Hero, I rose up and used my line like a Helicopter Rescue and tangled mine into her and carefully pulled it up just so I could give it back to her, aww.
But the bestest part of the trip was at Bed Time, when Mr Tichband would read us all a bedtime story that he'd made up about 2 Rabitts (brother and sister called Rosemary & Tom). The interesting thing was that Tom had a wooden leg and we'd all giggle as he would describe them hopping around "Rosemary went Hoppity Hoppity and Tom went Hoppity Clunk".
I think the purpose of the trip was to introduce us to new natural environments as well as teach us how to read Maps since we did hiking and loads of expeditions.
But my surprise reward for returning was actually getting the Pokemon Colosseum GameCube MegaPak bundle as a 5 day late 11th Birthday present, Oh Yeah!
In our last year, we all also took part in a Robin Hood Choir with Christ's Hospital, we all had to sing songs together like a group. Which we god good at and I myself gave it my all but not enough to stand out like the one's who weren't interested that much haha. I've tried Googling it for proof but it doesn't exist sadly. I was expecting at first to sing the songs from the hit Disney film, boy was I disappointed and annoyed that I had to learn completely new songs to what I knew off by heart.
Back on the playground and on the Field in the summer, a new game had been invented by the kids besides IT, Hide-and-Seek and Stuck in the Mud. This game was called "Josh Poison" where I would be IT all the time and have to tag people and they would be stuck and other people would "cure" them (it was a discriminative version of SITM). I admit that I was hurt by this game and it was a repetitive game in my last year, but a nice view from it is that it got me into running around and I must have been fitter than the others haha. Oh well, what can you do.
I loved how every day when we had Assembly in the Main Hall, we'd enter through one of the 4 corners depending on our year. And Mrs King had a nice habit of playing Enya - Adiemus as an intro whilst the children came in and sat down accordingly. Mr Goodall would have an assembly for us all to learn important life lessons and in the Winter, we'd all sing Christmas Carols whilst the music played and the projector in the centre had the lyrics come up on Cel-shaded paper. And we'd sometimes end the 15-20 minute assemblies with a prayer (I'm not sure if he was religious but at a young age, it's a harmonious way to end an assembly) even though I'm actually an Atheist right now.
I read in the West Sussex Country Times a year ago that Mr Goodall retired last year. I'm proud of him for being such a generous and caring headteacher during my years there and onwards to others.
In my last year, I stepped up a little and tried asking like 4 girls out thanks to seeing a few cute couples every year at the School Disco. I think I asked Maddie, Caitlin, Hannah and Aimy out in Year 6 since boys joked about saying they were interested or worth trying haha (really? at this age?)
Of course, it didn't work but I'm surprised at how easy it was back then compared to the status quo and social hierarchy of nowadays and that going out for drinks in loud environments with so many people is supposed to be the lifestyle and tactic for everyone (when I've ever had any luck... yet).
However one of my biggest life long regrets is failing to go through with the Talent Show act that me and my best friend Tom and I had rehearsed for months for... A Lightsaber Fight.
We grew close over our love for the Original Star Wars Trilogy and with he release of Episode 1 and it's epic song "Duel Of The Fates", so we both liked the idea of doing a Lightsaber duel for the end of year Talent show. Oh man, we rehearsed after school for 2 weeks straight, we put our hearts and o much effort into the choreography and threw in quotes too. WE must have over played DOTF forever during that time haha. But come the final moment and I don't know if it was just me or both of us, but Stage Fright hit us right then and we froze up as I tensed in anger and had the crushing feeling take over me as I realised I couldn't do it. We both stormed off and I was in tears and had to get one or two teachers to calm me down as the show went on. I regret it so much since it was like me time to shine and show everyone what I was capable of and I blew it.
But I can't hate myself forever or too badly since I was still a kid and it seems a lot of me to do such a brave thing in front of a live audience. Oh well, next time... I don't care how old I am. Give me a Lightsaber and I'll give it my all no matter where I am, so long as my opponent is ready to fight!
Near the end of my last month in Chesworth, Mrs King did a video night in the Main Hall for Year 5 and 6 and our film was the everlasting masterpiece Finding Nemo. But before it began, Mrs King with best intentions actually spoke to us all about how "In the beginning, the Mummy and Daddy fish go "shopping" but something happens to Mummy and she doesn't appear anymore. But don't worry she's alright. It's best you know this as you'll understand when you watch this when you're all a little older!" and then the film was played right after the heart-breaking beginning just as the opening titles played in the ocean before dawn approached for Nemo's first day of school.
I think that's adorable that she chose to spare us from a sad beginning and get straight to a better and more positive start to the film.
As many of you know the "Real Me" and understand how I know so much on Fiction/ Games and Disney, this was my actual origins. Not that many people could understand my behaviour and why I lived inside my head and looked out the window instead of focussing like everyone else.
My salvation and only comfort for stress and isolation of being the only Autistic kid was to turn my attention to certain films like Dinosaur, We're Back! A Dinosaur Story, The Land Before Time and it's 3 sequels thanks to my fixation with Dinosaurs (I'd watch Jurassic Park and The Lost World round Andrea's with Joe when I was 9).
My Saturday mornings, I'd watch an underrated series on BBC1 called The Animals Of Farthing Wood *sigh* I miss those days and I was made aware of how important nature and animals are (I might even look for that series online and finish it since I saw it almost every episode in Seasons 1 and 2, but never 3).
Cartoon Network had the best shows and I think this video will hit you all with a nostalgia train of all the best shows that we all grew up with. I wonder if you remember watching:
Ed Edd n' Eddy, Hey Arnold, Spongebob Squarepants, The Powerpuff Girls, Courage The Cowardly Dog, Johnny Bravo, The Wild Thornberrys, Looney Tunes, Tom & Jerry, Dexter's Laboratory, Samurai Jack, Scooby-Doo etc along with some other classic series like Rosie & Jim and many others that I can't begin to list haha.
Heck, even at my age back then, I'd still watch this VHS which was a collection of all my favourite children's cartoons because it was always played when I was uncomfortable so it was my stress relieving method.
And no one can't deny that they didn't watch a Disney film as a kid? I found this incredible video a few weeks ago and have been saving it for this occasion. The music is Step Out and Suns and Stars.
This will flood your mind with nostalgia along with important, memorable and perfectly timed quotes and it really shows the best of the Disney Renaissance Era *90s* (except for a few which came out in beginning 2000) though every film is a masterpiece especially the ancestor films like Bambi, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, The Jungle Book, The Many Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh etc.
You're never too old for Disney and it brings people together as well as fill in that hole you have when you feel alone or lost. I hope this video warms your heart as it does mine and sorta make you emotional (especially when I see and hear Mufasa)!
Lastly, my other comforting lifestyle was being hooked on video gaming at such a young age like many kids in the 90s who were there when the Gameboy Colour, PlayStation 2 and N64 were their obsessions and the biggest talks on the playground.
Besides the N64 games I loved playing and my first steps into the soon to be huge and ever growing world of Pokemon, I was too focused on my PlayStation 1 playing games like Oddworld 1 and 2, Spider-Man, The Spyro collection, Crash Bandicoot 3 (never got to play 1 and only borrowed 2 off a friend for a week). Oh and let's not forget Star Wars Episode 1 which was a challenge like Muppet Monster Adventure, The Tomb Raider collection and The Lost World: Jurassic Park (nothing like playing a platform game as Humans and Dinosaurs, right?)
It looks like I got into gaming at young age and it was the best thing to ever happen to me, if I may say so honestly. I bet you guys and girls were playing these and many other excellent games as kid, right?
My last day at Chesworth was quite emotional for everyone, myself included. A lot of people who were tough or a bit rude actually got a bit sentimental and sympathetic since we all understood that this would be the last time we'd ever see each other (because not everyone went to the same schools, some went to mixed and some went to a single gender school). I even got quite teary having to say goodbye to students as well as teachers since the teachers were so kind to me and always patient. It's funny how under 4 years ago, I found loads of them on Facebook and we've been following each others lives ever since.
I didn't like the change as you can tell since I'd had 4 years at one place and now I had to pack up and move onto the next level of education and I'd have to meet new people and go to a school even bigger than this with hundreds of boys only. I'll explain about that in a month or so.
SO that's my story at Chesworth. It's a real pain that there were no pictures on Google Images or West Sussex Country Times (no mater how badly I searched). I would have used the pictures from the school from what it looks like today but it's different and has more buildings which is cool. If you asked me to, I could describe the very layout/ structure or draw a blueprint of the school from a birds-eye view (sadly I don't have the time to do one and put the picture on here, just take my word for it).
I wonder as I finish typing this last paragraph if any of you that I have tagged in the Facebook post who went to this school with me and the many viewers that look at my work from around the world, If you remember your time at Primary School? I haven't listed many names since I can't remember everything and share it with the world since then there would be no privacy or boundaries.
But I hope this has put a smile on the faces of my oldest friends (that I've tagged) and given the audience a deeper look into the minds of young autistic children. At the end of the day, we all learn through different wavelengths whether we have special needs or minor disabilities. But I'm greatful for my time at that school since looking back on it to this date, I can say I had it good and with the right people.
Secondary School is where I was shaped into the man I've become to this day and I'm explain more in that post to come (it'll probably be as big as this and a bit more sadder and darker if I'm honest).
|Me (22 Years Old) with Me (9 Years Old)|
I thank you all for reading my work and I hope I've made your day!