For To S
I’ve been sorting through a lot of things recently, boxes of photos and old papers mainly and I’ve been having a wonderful time. Yesterday I hit a certain jackpot, because I found a box of very special papers, mainly from my first year at university, 1972/3.
I arrived in Sheffield in October 72, terrified, withdrawn, shy and looking forward to studying. My father drove me up on the Saturday and helped me unpack my stuff in my luxurious hall of residence bedroom (I’m not joking here – it was big, comfortable and warm. Above all, warm.) Once all my stuff – or gear, as we all called it then, was in my room, he turned to me to say goodbye and I just said I’m not staying and ran out to the car. My poor daddy. He was so bemused. Reluctantly he took me back to London to my mother’s. She was very bewildered to see me. My father then had stern words with her about preparing me for the next day.
Sunday came. My father arrived. I got into the car. We didn’t say a word to one another. We reached Ranmoor House and he accompanied me back to my room. This time he ran for it before I had time to look around. So I resigned myself to being alone. I envisaged four years in the library, reading books, and writing essays and not much else. I set about looking for some tissues so I could cry in peace, when someone knocked on the door. Vivien.
“I’ve just moved in next door,” she said cheerfully. “Do you want to have some tea?”
And thus began the next four years of meeting five new people a day.
All of a sudden I wasn’t quite as shy or withdrawn or terrified – and certainly not as studious as I thought.
So when I found this poem that I had written towards the end of that academic year, I realised today why some of my friends had guffawed loudly when they read it. This was definitely not the voice of someone whom they thought they recognised. See what you think.