Saturday, May 31, 2008

simplicity, sincerity, serenity

That is the motto of The Bishop's School where I am spending this weekend at my 50th reunion. Right off we decided the first two were easy compared with the last one. So we mutually agreed to abandon all attempts at serenity, concentrate on the first two and have a great time. And we have.

The official celebration started last evening with dinner for our class 9and spouses) with the headmaster. The meal was delicious ~ we never had grilled salmon in the dining room when I was there ~ and it was followed by reminiscences and funny stories from everyone. Our 97-year old Headmistress was there, still in fine fettle. My favorite story is about one of our classmates who smoked her chair. I should explain. We had varnished wicker chairs in our rooms. She systematically broke off pieces of the chair and smoked them. We called them Wicker Weeds. Think there's a market?

This morning two of us went out for a walk down through town to the cliffs overlooking the sea. Lovely cool morning, a bit cloudy, but that all burned off my about 10 PM. Then up to the school for a breakfast out on the patio. This is the view from the corner of the quad, looking west to the chapel. I walked across this quad every day for five school years. From this vantage it looks exactly the same.

It was a traditional challenge to climb up to the top of the tower (El Mirador) on a rickety ladder. I never did it but there were some last night who admitted to having broken that most strict rule. Those who confessed said the view was worth the risk!

After breakfast about a dozen of us sat around talking, getting caught up, touching on all sorts of topics, including a spirited discussion of current politics. Then it was time for chapel which, when we were students, was the heart of the school. We attended chapel every morning, the borders had evensong after dinner and, of course, on Morning Prayer on Sunday. The chaplain at the time, Father Stevens, was truly the spiritual adviser to all of us. He was a dark-browed, forbidding presence with a twinkle in his eye and a ready laugh. The chapel's architecture is the traditional academic style; two rows facing each other with two transepts on either side. The altar is quite plain, but in the back of the chapel is this beautiful rose window.

The floor was well-worn, highly polished Mexican Saltillo tiles which have been replaced by tiles that don't cause ankle sprains. In the tiny baptistery off the altar I found a little brass plaque with daughter Alex's name; she was baptized there by her grandfather.

Then lunch, more talk, and finally I am back at the hotel for a lie-down until dinner. It seems like we are doing nothing but eating and talking. Last night we sat up until almost midnight. Who knows what it will be tonight! It's very much like having a grand family reunion with sisters you truly love.


At 9:18 PM, Blogger mary ann said...

Beautiful ~ thanks for taking the time to write such a great post!
I always think of that Seinfeld episode when George's father screams,
"serenity NOW!"


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