Saturday, February 11, 2012

forty years on

Just in case you're not familiar with the words of Forty Years On, the song written in 1872 and made to make generations of schoolboys think about how they'll look back on their youth, it begins 
Forty years on, when afar and asunder
Parted are those who are singing today,
When you look back, and forgetfully wonder
What you were like in your work and your play,
Then, it may be, there will often come o’er you,
Glimpses of notes like the catch of a song –
Visions of boyhood shall float them before you,
Echoes of dreamland shall bear them along
and on it goes, full of patriotism and the virtues and advantages of school sports for boys.  It was adopted as the school song of Harrow School, a public (i.e. private) school just north of London; it was borrowed as the title for Alan Bennett's first play (not dissimilar, in its nostalgia and satire, from The History Boys).

And, more or less forty years on, we're just back from the reunion not of Alice's class, exactly, but of her friends when at Carleton - from her year and the year above.  Some of them we're very much in touch with because they still live in or around Santa Fe (and in one case in New Jersey), and others not so much.  But someone brought this picture with them!  Though Alice herself isn't in it, here are Dave, Nelson, and Kenny - who were all there tonight - and Susie (who wasn't).  No one could remember whether it was actually posed to look like an album cover - it would be perfect for one, right down to the poster saying "Freaks" on the wall, and Harper the cat (called after Roy?).  And no one knew quite who took it - maybe someone called Spigot.  Somehow, there always was someone called Spigot, and no one ever knows what happened to them.

No comments:

Post a Comment