david_smith_new

David started his career as a journalist in 1990, working on sporting titles and interviewing legends such as Jerry Guscott and Joe Montana. His freelance writing career has seen him work for the BBC, Sky Magazine, FHM and many other magazines and websites. Having rediscovered his love of history, he enrolled on the Military History MA at Chester in 2002 before going on to earn his PhD. He has written books for Osprey and his latest work, on the British general William Howe, was published by Bloomsbury in June 2017.

As a Story Terrace writer, David provides professional ghostwriting services to capture customers’ life stories through carefully crafted anecdotes. Below is an anecdote of his own. Get in touch today to work with him!

Infant terrible

Life has many subtle ways of telling you you’re not getting any younger. Most of them tend to creep up on you stealthily, but life can also deliver more sudden testament to your advancing age. In this category, things don’t get much more shockingly symbolic than finding out that your infant school has been turned into an old people’s home.

I spent most of my childhood on RAF bases and Waddington, in Lincolnshire, is where I first went to school. It was a beautiful place, with a big playing field, a climbing frame in the playground and a lovely pathway to the little gate I used to pass through every school day.

I hadn’t been back to Waddington since we’d moved in the 1970s, and as well as looking forward to enjoying the air show with my two boys, I was also looking forward to having a glance at my first school.

The air show did not let us down and the boys were pretty well tuckered out at the end of the day. The following morning I dragged them up to my old school.
The pathway was still there (running through a graveyard, which I suppose is another one of life’s sledgehammer-subtle reminders) and so was the wooden gate in the rough stone wall that was the boundary of the school.

I expected a flood of memories when I opened the gate, but it was nailed shut, and a quick peep over the top of the wall (I’m considerably taller now than I was 42 years ago) revealed a suspicious number of new buildings. A walk round to the other entrance revealed the awful truth.

Discovering that your first school is now a place of residence for pensioners can get you thinking if you’re not careful, but as we walked back to our campsite I realised it was no great surprise. My boys used to go to a beautiful nursery school in Chester that has since closed down and is now empty. It happens.
And anyway, technically my infant school has not been turned into an old people’s home. After a little research I discovered that the school was in fact demolished, and a completely new old people’s home was built on the site. So the two aren’t really linked at all.

But I’m not sure if that makes me feel better or worse.

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