THE LOUDEST PURRRRR ON EARTH IS PEACE
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY 2008!
Best wishes for the holiday that is all about LOVE!
Be my Valentine, all you folk from the past, present and future!
I send love to everyone. This is a chat from me to you about some of the people that I will never forget….
I send Valentine’s to all the teachers at St. George’s School in Clarens Switzerland 1959-1966.
I send Valentine’s loves to my mother for
arranging for me to go to St. George’s.
“Val’s” Love to --Miss Coombes (sports and logistical administration of the school), Miss Bamford (chief matron and a retired British military nurse), Miss Graham our Music teacher, piano, theory composition and musical appreciation and a woman I saw and spoke with 4 to 5 times a week for 7 years. She had a scooter as her transport back and forth to her chalet in Villeneuve. Miss Graham was hit by a truck and we feared that she would never return.
There was no stopping Miss Graham. Mademoiselle Petrenget, (an extra piano teacher) stood in while she recovered and lo and behold back she came with a scar on one side of her head outlining the helmet that protected her from death.
Madame Von Knorring, the head of the local ballet academy visited our school every Saturday morning to teach us ballet. When we performed in public we were mixed in with her ballet academy girls.
Miss Codrington (an Australian emigree to Switzerland and our head mistress-she had a precious terrier called Rufus), Madame Ravussin (our middle school French grammar teacher and deputy head mistress and head of the school‘s French department) Mademoiselle Bacque (the Norman who put the oomph in French style and culture), Mrs. Ross White (head of the art department and my teacher for A Level history of Art -
Mrs. Ross White took us to the Lausanne EXPO of 1964 we viewed the greatest exhibition of Impressionist Art ever assembled in one place. It was magnificent and a perfect place and wonderful time to be learning about the superior side of humanity’s talent.
We were at school in the town next to Montreux when the Rolling Stones were invited to play at the Montreux Casino and that night it burned down.
I guess in my mind it meant that the arts affected and influenced everything and could cause change by synchronized coincidences that ignited situations. Put on great music, defy authority and before you know it tradition and even antique practices were removed.
Personally I was a bit miffed because the Casino was a gorgeous Art Nouveau concert hall that was a fire trap and should have been dismantled but nevertheless once it burned down that was it. I saw all my great Moliere plays there and watched Pierette’s father, Malcuzynski play there before the fiasco that caused thits fiery demolition and to the ground, not a stick remained! Know what I mean?
So I knew Rock n’ Roll was dangerous; after a Rock n’ Roll concert, don’t be surprised if the hall burns down!
Miss Furmidge (the teacher who brought history to life), Madame Quinche (the most amazing French and English Lit teacher anyone could have. Madame Quinche was a star of the Nestle Theater and she and her husband supported theater and the arts internationally. She taught literature with the passion only an actor brings to the literary arts--poetry, plays and visions of great authors), Miss Arkless and Miss Nicholson were my drama teachers. Miss Arkless was method and Miss Nicholson disputed all of that and belonged to the school where rehearsal and repetition freed you to improvise within the role and discover more of what the part and the writer’s meanings were. Miss McKenna who taught Latin and Math and Biology, she didn’t like me and had a temper, threw a book at Amparo Valdivieso in class and she didn’t return after the Spring holiday.
Be my Valentines:
My fellow students and friends:
Monica Edwards, Rita Espaillat, Pat Young, Patrisha Roberts, Kathy Low, Claudia and Magdalena Olaeachea, Christina Carras, Nasrin Kari, Marie-Therese Coropouli, Angela, Beatrice, Christine, Dorothy and Elizabeth Lau. Nina Heaton, The Pataudi sisters and the Liberian and Kuwaiti royalty, the Arab brigade from Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Pakistan, Iraq, Kuwait, Turkey and Iran.
We were 23 religions and 58 nationalities and averaged around 150-160 girls per year. I was there for seven years and so I had the pleasure of living in Switzerland going home to Cyprus for my holidays and to England once a year for general keeping in touch with what was going on in the hip part of the continent.
This year I want to celebrate all the great experiences and wisdom I gained from being educated with such a diverse group. I thank you all for being patient and cordial to an ugly duckling that took a long time to grow into the skin that was to be my costume for life.
For both the applause when I acted well in plays and won at debate or skiing and for the heckling when I fouled up, I thank you. It was a gentle slide into the river of life as opposed to the harsh reality that some folks experience at school. After living in the United States for the last 20 years I realized I know nothing about the experience of growing up in America because I was not educated here I did not participate in many of the customs such as football games, proms and bullying cowardice and physical violence to taunt, tease and torture one’s colleagues on the raft of a lifetime.
Valentines day……a day to ponder how we can replenish the energy and inspiration in the souls we cherish, those who are tired or perhaps enduring difficult times. Life serves all these courses and if we don’t taste them all: joy and satisfaction, travel and mystery, love and passion, children and animals, establishing the cash machines that fund our drama and our lives profit and extravagance, sorrow, misery, torture and life threatening illnesses, we hardly count.
A safe life is not a way to live; it is a way to tap-count the time until one dies. I shouldn’t have written that! I was in a flow, streaming wondering if I was writing poetry, in love with the resonance of my words. I wrote to a friend the other day about the activities and expenses that fill our lives, suddenly I wrote: “I dread death.”
My friend did not mention that phrase in their reply but I knew I had done well to actually call my fear a name.
I do dread dying. I want to sing and write and
play on the beach and talk to chums, act in some plays direct some stories, make
some audio theater, do some cabaret, a few movies, design & build my daughter
and son houses as a gift for when I am no longer here. But there are only so
many years and I think a hundred should be the minimum! We cannot live in fear
or pandering to caution. Life just gets going when you've learned all the stuff
there is to do and which bits require a second visit.
How did we get on to this subject? We were discussing Valentine’s---
Peace, yes and purring pussycats---I need to get out more!