I actually have lots and lots to write about, since it’s been so long since I’ve written, other than a couple of very recent posts. Like how Christmas was for us all, contacting some of her college friends, and how we are all getting on, almost five months later. But that will have to wait for another future post. This update is all about her memorial plaque that we unveiled at her former school, The Grange, in Banbury. I’d been waiting for today for quite a long time, since September in fact.
The Grange is not in fact where she last taught; that was as a higher-level teaching assistant in Middle Barton, after the bureaucracy of modern teaching had finally got to her. Nevertheless, she was very happy at the Grange, where she taught for eight years, from May 2000 to October 2008. Partly as a job share with other teachers, partly as supply or cover, but she always liked just teaching the children, she wasn’t interested in career progression.
Today had dawned with very strong winds – gales – and lashing rain. It brightened up a little by midday and by the time myself, Lucy, Alice and the teachers at the Grange assembled outside, the sky was turning blue, the wind had dropped and it was bright, if a bit chilly. The caretaker had put the plaque up this morning and I said a few words. I deliberately hadn’t prepared anything, just thought about what I wanted to say while driving there. When you speak from the heart, you don’t need to prepare. I talked about how Juliet had always wanted to teach, from an early age, how she had always loved teaching and about the long time she had to prepare for her death. And how we had planted a flowering cherry tree in her name and a rose bush. But we had no memorial with her name on it.
So we have resolved one of the requests that had always troubled me. It was literally the final thing she wrote in her funeral planning notes, originally dated January 2010, but from the handwriting and spelling, clearly a later addition. It read, verbatim, with spelling mistakes and even an incorrect birthdate:
“Juliet’s tree” in from garden, next to tree as then it can count as a “house name” and it’s harded for them to stop it. Then in the back at the back, we can put
1986 – 2011
as even a ginepig can have one!