I had an anxious, nervous tummy the morning of my first day of secondary school. It was 1981 and I had heard rumours from older girls of newcomers heads getting flushed down toilet's, dinner money being nicked, a terrifying headmistress that ruled with an iron rod and worst of all, a ghost in the clock tower.
Mum quickly lined us up for our back to school photo, Dad was parked out the front in his American Pontiac Firebird, reving the big, noisy engine. I thought I was going to be sick at the thought of the attention Dad's car would draw to me. And I was right, because as we pulled up outside the back gate, Barry Manilow blasting from the car stereo, everyone turned to stare. The older girls with moody faces and cigarettes hanging from their lips looked terrifying.
My legs, felt like lead as I fumbled for the silver door handle, desperate to remain behind the tinted windows of this huge monstrosity. As I climbed out of the car I blushed so burning red that I thought my cheeks would explode and under my breath I begged "Please Dad, don't sound the horn" but he did and even more heads turned to look at the cool American car with the nervous new kid. At that moment, I thought I wouldn't make it through the gate without throwing up. Thankfully, I had arranged to knock for my Friend who lived next door to the very scary school gate, I was fine and I got through my first day without bumping into the clock tower ghost. Phew!