I’m reminded in this month when classes return in the UK that my last school day was in New York
I had left school in Scotland three months previously and my parents had rewarded me for my efforts with a trip out to see my cousins in America.
Eddie was (and still is) my wee cousin, my junior by a year, and so was still at school.
And so for me to hang out with him I’d have to join him in class.
I still recall his headmaster sitting us down and telling me I’d have to behave (my reputation had clearly preceded me).
And that I nodded obediently despite the principal in truth holding no authority over me.
The experience was fairly unique as holiday expeditions go.
And I might as well have been from Mars as far as Eddie’s schoolmates were concerned.
So when I stuck my hand up and answered the teacher’s question their jaws fell as they’d never heard such a sound as came out of my mouth.
The story ought to end there with me being a minor celebrity for the day… only for Eddie to reveal more years later.
I of course revisited the family bar, the iconic Irish Cottage in Queen’s.
And I discovered that at least one girl that day back in Eddie’s school had wanted to meet me later to get to know me.
All of which ramblings are a celebration of the last summer after school.
Everywhere from the UK through Ireland and over to America, the three countries I know best it is a rite of passage.
And I dare say in other countries too.
The previous year to America I had hoped was going to be my last in school only for me to miss out on university and have to repeat.
There were no girls then either but not for the want of trying… but then that’s a different story.
Now for all those who are licking their wounds after not getting the grades you deserve because of COVID I feel your pain.
And that you haven’t got the holiday you earned either.
But rest assured all good things will come to he who waits.
As the guy waiting outside one camper’s tent in St Raphael told me when I was 16 as he awaited his turn.