It’s often strange what our brains can find to trigger a memory – a smell, a song, a picture ? The pie in this picture pulls my memory in all sorts of directions.
One of the memories the pie dredges up is from my childhood, from my secondary school years. It’s a memory sitting quite near the surface after a conversation I had with a customer in the shop today, being a non-smoker, the customer was amazed at the price the person in front him in the queue had paid for cigarettes. He couldn’t understand why anyone would start smoking at all, let alone want to spend that much money on it.
I smiled with my best customer smile and made the appropriate noises in the right places for polite conversation but my mind had wandered back to my school days when I had started smoking.
It probably won’t surprise you to find out that I didn’t really fit into most of the categories in school. I most definitely wasn’t cool enough to fit in with the popular people, I didn’t have enough sporting talents to be considered fit and I wasn’t brainy enough to be a real nerd. One category I found myself forced into far too often though was that of “bullied”.
One group of girls in particular would seek me out for their entertainment and I would spend my time in school hanging around near teachers, in need of protection, and my break or lunch breaks hiding, often arriving late for lessons, not wanting to enter the classroom until some sort of authority arrived first.
Arriving late got me into trouble a few times and I was sent to detention after school. This is where I realised that another group of people existed in school too, I suppose you’d call them the misfits. I was a good girl and didn’t get into trouble very often, but they just seemed to accept that I was there in detention for whatever I’d done and they weren’t interested in what, or why, I just was.
After a few times I searched them out one lunchtime and found to my relief that the bullies didn’t even look in their direction, I started spending more time with the misfits, they would leave the school grounds and wander into the lanes around the area to smoke at lunch and break times and I tagged along, eventually trying smoking for myself.
I became quite close to one of the girls, of course my mum didn’t like her, and probably blamed her for the trouble I was getting into at school, but hey ho, we became good friends for a while.
My mind wanders again, I used to have school dinners, I’d be given my dinner money on a Monday and I was to buy five dinner tickets for the week. My friend used to have free dinners and would report to the secretary’s office to collect her five tickets.
I would buy just one ticket and so between us, we’d use our six dinner tickets for three days school dinners but on the other two days we would go out of school and I would use my dinner money to buy our two day’s dinners at the local shops.
In one direction there was a pub on the corner who sold pies and pasties through a small kiosk window, and on the opposite corner a post office shop where we would buy a packet of crisps to complete the meal. In the other direction there was a bakery. They sold the pies in the picture, made from a thick crusty pastry and a gravy-like meat filling. They were hot, from underneath a glass counter, and combined with an iced bun, this was always my favourite dinner of the week.
Years later, the bakery where I used to buy my lunch is no longer there, but the pies are still made and sold in the indoor market in Cardiff. Mum-in-law has brought me some home from a visit to Cardiff before, and at the moment I have a supply in the freezer brought to Weymouth with Hubby on his last visit to Cardiff.
Oh, just incase you’re wondering, I stopped smoking over thirty years ago before trying to start a family.
More from before : Delving into the murky depths of my “Memory Vaults“