When I think of my primary school days, three things spring to mind.
The first is Perkins Paste. I loved Perkins Paste. Not only was it snowy white and delightfully thick, it came in the nattiest little tub a girl could dream of - hot-pink with a white lid. The lid alone was a wonder to behold. It had a cute little stalk on the outside and an applicator stick on the inside. This meant that you could apply Perkins Paste for miles and miles without gumming up your fingers. You could spend an entire afternoon gluing yellow crepe paper balls all over a cardboard cut-out of an Easter chicken and emerge as clean as you began. Well, perhaps your sweaty little hands had caused some of the yellow dye from the crepe paper to run, leaving your fingers with a strangely jaundiced appearance, but at least you weren't coated in Clag up to your elbows. (Don’t get me started on the horrors of Clag!!!) Better still, that little stalk on the top of the lid made for great chewing. Many a student has passed a boring ten minutes by chewing on their Perkins Paste lid. In fact, I would go so far as to claim that every Perkins Paste lid stalk at my school bore molar marks due to the frequent and verbose drop-ins of our school principal.
The second thing that springs to mind is hair baubles. I loved hair baubles almost as much as I loved Perkins Paste. I wore my hair in plaits and, later, big floppy ponytails at either side of my head. My mum used to make my hair baubles out of dressmaker’s elastic and buttons or beads. My all-time favourites featured clusters of large yellow beads that made me look a little bit like a horse with bunches of sultana grapes at the top of my tail. Gooooorgeous!
And the third thing that springs to mind (and makes my tummy lurch) is school milk. The government used to provide daily milk for every child in Australian primary schools. The contractors would kindly deliver the crates of milk to the school gate at 9am where they would remain, sitting in the blazing sunshine, until recess at 11am. Every single day. Consequently, the milk was always warm and sometimes even suspiciously curdled. I didn’t mind so much if I got chocolate milk (I could pretend it was hot chocolate gone a bit cold), but warm strawberry milk is not for the faint-hearted. And who were those kids who chose unflavoured milk? What were they playing at? Was it an attention seeking thing or did they come from another planet???
What are your top three primary school memories, I wonder?