Copyright © Ray Crowther 2004
Tom Hood School Reunions
Eagle Pub, Snaresbrook - December 30, 2002
Pauline Saunders (nee Forester), Valerie Waters, Ray Crowther,
Click HERE for Ray Crowther's photos
Click HERE for Eric Churchyard's photos
NEW - You can download an average quality video (13 Mbyte!) of the reunion HERE.
Valerie Water's 2002 Reunion Report
Well, this report of the reunion of The Classes of '64 and '66 is being written by, if one has seen Ray's photo's, a drunken old trout. If you have not seen them, then ignore that remark and believe the writer that she is one of those fortunate people who has aged gracefully. Ha, oh well, all I can say in my defence is that I did my very best to keep a low profile but the camera kept catching me just at the wrong time. Actually reconsidering the snaps, I am the only one of the thirteen who looks drunk!
Anyway that's enough of me and my excuses, on to the report. Eric and I had travelled together from Colchester. Unfortunately, we walked the wrong way from Snaresbrook Station through the pouring rain, finally arriving at the Eagle soaking wet. In fact if it had not been for a friendly woman who gave us a lift to the pub, we would have been absolutely drenched. It was a very wet Monday in Snaresbrook!
Many of those who were coming were already there when we arrived. I have to say that it is a strange phenomenon, the jump from 1964 to 2002, a thirty-eight year leap for many of us. To explain it to those who have not experienced it, is difficult. For although most of us had gone our own ways during the years apart, this did not appear to make much difference to our initial response to one another. Though perhaps the link was within those who turned up.
As happened with the previous year's get-together, there was an immediate rapport between us, although, I must admit to not immediately recognising some of my fellows of '64. Anyway, after the initial gasps of recognition and 'wonder where so-and-so is' we got down to the serious business of having a good time and getting to know one another.
The drinks and food were paid for by a whip-round, initially a tenner then a further five pounds. The food was splendid and everyone I think was more than satisfied with the lunch (a serve-yourself carvery) and the pudding - David Johnson had a 'bottomless custard jug' with his crumble!
The choice of the pub was not only good for the food, it was also large enough to allow us to sit around comfortably and chat. Except for lunch, as can be seen in the pictures, when we had to sit in two groups. At one point during the lunch, on the table I sat at,,we started reminiscing on the 'finer' points of owning a motorbike, such as greasy fingernails. This is the explanation for the unusual hand gestures in the wonderful photo of Les, John and David. All three are trying to explain the very particular styling of Les's hair at school. Carrying on from this, John looked around and made the observation that everyone still had their own hair and teeth. Though I think we agreed that they were not as they had been.
Unfortunately, Pauline left early followed by Carol and Ann and then David Russell. Those that were left moved back into the main area of the pub, to continue reminiscing and catching-up with each other's lives since leaving school. Eventually, David Johnson's daughter came to take him home (not because he was the worse for wear!) and John's son dropped by for a drink on his way home from work. People started to leave and by this time it was early evening and those of us that were left decided it was time to go home. But not before agreeing that because we had so enjoyed meeting one another that we would meet again very soon. Therefore, we decided to have another party, though this time it would be during the coming summer. So that is the plan, possibly a Bar-B-Q or perhaps a picnic.
If I have missed anything out of my report, please accept my apologies, it does seem rather thin on information. I have found it rather difficult to report on what happened, (though it could be the drink or perhaps my age) I think because, well for me anyway, the most important aspect of the day was our pleasure at meeting one another again and enjoying each other's company.
I will just finish off by complementing Ray on the splendid pics. especially the portraits (I have yet to see those from Eric). He is to be congratulated (especially after he removes those pictures of that 'drunken old trout' who somehow slipped into the gathering). I also think, as I am positive the others will agree, that the spirit of the reunion has been captured and is reflected in the faces of us all. Those who did not attend must have thoroughly enjoyed viewing the pictures and will surely consider joining us for the summer party.