The world just keeps shrinking!

Well once again I find myself in one of those ‘it’s a small world’ moments that happen inexplicably from time to time. This time it’s with a fellow expat blogger Iota who also happens to pass her time in the great mid-west.

But that’s not the real coincidence, you see Iota and I once shared the same junior school playground a mere 35 years ago, give or take a few!

We discovered it a few months back when I saw her comment on another blog about having grown up in Chesham (Bucks). Knowing we were similar in age I immediately emailed her to learn more. Well we soon realised we not only grew up in the same vicinity, but also went to school together for a number of years!

Memories flooded back of our happy days at Chesham Prep school, old friends and teachers. I managed to find my old school reports including this one from when I was six - let me tell you, numbers never did get any easier!

Iota was a couple of years above me, but this was a small independent school where everyone knew everyone else, or at the very least a sibling. Initially she thought she actually remembered me, but there were two of us with the same name in the school and it was the other Sarah Williams she remembered. I remember my namesake for just that reason, but she never drifted as far away as I did and still lives in Chesham with five kids, so there was no mistaking us now!

We may not remember each other, but we do share the same fond memories of the school. The blue and white striped little dress, which the girls still wear to this day. The not so flattering or fondly remembered vests and navy blue knickers worn for PE, with the formidable and chain-smoking Mrs. Davis. The regular nature walks around the orchards (as in picture above) surrounding the school and I have particular memories of a ‘Teddy Bears’ picnic in my early years there. Sports Day was always fun and I enjoyed the three-legged race, for which many hours were spent practicing and the Egg & Spoon race. We have similar memories of our teachers, the fearsome and scarily peroxided Mrs. Edwards, and Mr. Kitchenman who taught History and Geography, classes I remember really enjoying.

I also suffered my earliest embarrassing moment at CPS. We would go swimming to Amersham Pool once a week and it was usual to arrive with your swimming costume on under your clothes. Well imagine my horror at about 8yrs old, when after the class as I dried off and prepared to dress in my uniform, only to realise I had left my underwear at home! So I had to suffer the ultimate humiliation of telling a teacher and then riding the bus back to school, whilst trying to keep my short skirted dress low enough to hide my dark secret. Things got a whole lot worse though when my mother showed up at school with my knickers and I had to leave class to put them on. Oh fond memories indeed!

Iota and I now live just a few hundred miles apart and regularly see similarities in our lives and viewpoints as expats. She blogs about her family, understanding her kids accents, and life here in the mid-west from our shared side of the fence. We have both faced health trials since we moved here. Iota has blogged extensively and inspiringly about her battle with breast cancer and the trials it throws in your path. In a lesser way I have related to her problems with 'chemobrain', as my own ‘thyroidbrain’ seemed to have a similar effect on me. We have both decided to leave behind that great British institution of ironing anything that could or does crease once we crossed the pond. And we have shockingly both grown to like Green Bean Casserole, Expatmum is shrieking in disgust as she reads this.

But mine and Iota’s story has one final twist. It seems highly likely that I once had my hands in her mouth! My first job after school was as a Dental Nurse in Chesham and guess who was a patient at the same time. Now that really is bizarre!

I encourage you to drop by her blog today to read her side of the story and also to see her modelling those blue and white stripes!


Iota said...

Oh, look at you! What a lovely picture. I love your regulation navy blue hair ribbon.

I enjoyed your report. I especially enjoyed the phrase "she finds number difficult"! I feel Miss Nunnerley's strengths might have lain more in photography than in literacy! Fancy her first name being Priscilla.

This has been a fun joint post.

ascu75 aka Don said...

Loved your recollections of junior school I too look back fondly on may days at school. jusst off to look at lota's blog now

North West London Girl said...

School reports are fascinating to read, particularly to ones own children. Fond memories of those navy blue knickers, we all wore them for PE. xx

A Brit in Tennessee said...

Isn't it just so special, when you can connect with people who shared your world, some thirty years ago ?
That's one thing about school days, you remember them for the rest of your life, all the good times, embarrasing momemts, and the monumental ones.
I could have picked you out of a crowd in that picture, same cute little face, and big smile...
Off to visit lota now :)

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

Oh, how funny. You just never know do you? Hope you're tunneling out from under the snow BTW.~~Dee

Anonymous said...

How wonderful to have made a special connection so far from home :)

Pam said...

I love this story! What a small world indeed. I love that Chesham area too. Wouldn't that just be a real hoot if it were true about the dentist ... no reason why it wouldn't be! It is like the long-lost distant cousin of mine from Texas who actually married a guy from Berko and lives in Hemel and that's where we met up. Love a small world story.

Daryl said...

How very wonderful .... finding, reconnecting to old friends is a blog and FB phenom!

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Reconnecting is great fun. Facebook has allowed me to reconnect with lots of former friends and acquaintances.

Anonymous said...

Lovely story, Sarah! I am so glad you have basically happy memories of your grade school years. When are you going to write your memoirs????

imac said...

Amazing, small world init.lol.
What a thrill for you.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

How neat, Sarah.. Isn't it amazing that you can catch up with someone you went to school with many years ago??? Blogging is amazing!!!!!

Glad you and Iota caught up with one another. I love your picture --and I even checked out hers... Both of you look so precious!!!!


Michelloui said...

How sweet--and what an amazing way life has of helping people crisscross paths. These were fun posts between the two of you!

Expat mum said...

You traitors! Grenn Bean Casserole indeed.
Great post though. I was going to do a "6 Degrees of Separation" post but I ran out of people after two. Clippy Mat and I went to the same Catholic convent school, although not at the same time; and Hadriana went to the rival Catholic convent school, though again, not at the same time.
I do have something in common with Iota too but if I share it I will have to kill everyone as it will blow her sover.

Expat mum said...


Brit Gal Sarah said...

Now I am completely intrigued?!

Snippety Gibbet said...

This is sooooooooooo not the point of your post, but that is a great report card. I wish we did them that way. Parents get so hung up on the letter grades that those grades are all they focus on. If we could write out an assessment, it would be so much more meaningful.

I sucked....suck....at numbers still too. Can't multiply to save my life.