To The Grey Class of 1990

(c) 2015 Edward C Lunnon / 8 years 8 months ill / Physical: Adv CBD Mental: Adv Ed

  

Dear Carlo, Dave, Seton and the Men of the Grey Class of 1990

Where has the weekend gone?

Where has the week gone?

Where have twenty five years gone?

Where has the time gone?

I left The Grey and teaching at the end of 1988. You left The Grey and your schooling careers at the end of 1990, just two years later.

We have all gone our separate ways to the farthest corners of the globe.

Life, for some, has treated us kindly and, in other instances, Life has treated us less kindly. Indeed, all of us have experienced some good and some bad fortunes along the roads that we have travelled.

But all those roads have brought us back, this past weekend, to where all our numerous interpersonal friendships started in those years of our educational eighties – back to the Tower and back to the now 100-year old Mill Park campus of The Grey.

It would appear to me that that Tower remains our anchor which roots us in our lives’ travels and our beacon which guides us along the way and brings us back to our roots, time and again.

This experience, this 25 year Grey Reunion, is a unique event in the lives of Old Greys.

And it happened again this past weekend.

I have been privileged to experience Grey Reunions (and especially 25 year reunions) over the last seven years, and in most of those years have written to the classes with which I was associated. (You may read those letters on my blog site, http://www.edlunnon.wordpress.com).

The sentiments that I expressed in those letters remain the same for each one of you.

They are worth repeating here.

So let me, firstly, congratulate you on the magnificent reunion weekend that you organised.

Everything flowed seamlessly and smoothly, but I know that a lot of hard work and effort goes into making it all happen. I know that everyone enjoyed all the various functions which they attended.

Secondly, I would like to thank you for inviting me to share in your reunion with you. It is very rewarding for a teacher to observe the results of his handiwork and to know that he has been partly responsible in shaping their future.

You can all, like me, be justly proud of the contributions, small or large, that you individually have made to the lives of your families, and to your communities, your school, your countries and, indeed, the whole world.

The Class of 1990 has certainly continued the Grey tradition of raising the bar to new heights.

I have fond memories of the very special years, 1984 – 1988, that I had the privilege of teaching you and getting to know many of you at The Grey. Yes, in many ways, I am as much a part of your class as any one of you.

It was thirty two years ago to the month, in May 1983, that I arrived from the Western Cape at Grey High School. It was for the very first time that I had come to see for myself the school at which I had been appointed to commence my teaching career in 1984 and to continue setting up a very new departmental computer centre for Port Elizabeth based at The Grey (with an Apple 1 and three mainframe consoles!)

You arrived at the High School in January 1986. You being the very junior Standard Sixes and I was the very young and junior “Sir” – a mere few years older than you!

We continued our high school careers there – all achieving various levels of success. But, in 1990, it came to an end for you and you passed ‘neath the Tower which I have previously referred to, for the first time. You went your various ways into an unknown world for which we, your teachers, had hopefully prepared you.

I swapped the academic world for the business world, married Pera (now a grade 2 teacher at Grey Junior) and we had two sons, Sean (who matriculated in 2010) and Phillip (who matriculated in 2013) and who have kept my ongoing connection with The Grey – firstly as a teacher and then as a parent. When Phillip left ‘neath the Tower at the end of 2013, it brought to an end thirty years of my direct connection with the Institution.

But, as you have seen this weekend, the School and the Tower remain a magnet that continuously draw us back.

Whilst I can never lay claim to being an Old Grey (and my son Phillip kindly reminded me that not even a blood transfusion could give me the Grey Blue Blood that was necessary to lay claim to that title of “Old Grey”), I will continue to be a proud member of the Old Greys’ Union, together with each one of you. Hopefully, we will continue to see each other in many years to come!

In 1859, the very first year that classes were taught at the brand new Grey Institute on The Hill, the Governor of the Cape Colony, Sir George Grey, was recalled to London. The Staff and boys of the school wrote to him expressing their regret at his departure and “gratitude for the benefits he had conferred upon them”.

He replied to them as follows:

Gentlemen and Students

Your letter at expressing your regret at my departure is one of the most gratifying which I have received. Every man desires to aid in blessing others, and in doing good; but it is not given to many men to see such early fruits springing from those labours in which they themselves and others have engaged. God has, in the case of the Institution from which you write, given me this pleasure, and has allowed me to hear that, from the Grey Institute, and from amongst yourselves, good and able men have come forth.

If any of you who have done credit to the Institution, require a friend in Europe, remember that you are, in some sort, children of mine, and have a claim upon my sympathy and aid which I shall not overlook.

From your affectionate friend

G. Grey

I am pleased that from the Class of 1990 “good and able men have come forth”.

G. Grey, your affectionate friend, whose mortal remains lie in St Paul’s Cathedral in London, must also take great pleasure in seeing the fruits springing from his labours.

There are many life lessons, but one which I recall is the fact that “time comes to an end”.  We cannot (yet!) turn it back.

Our time together at The Grey and my teaching time at The Grey, about which we reminisce so much this weekend, came to an end in 1988, our weekend together came to an end all too quickly on Saturday evening, and, indeed, our time on this earth will come to an end (and, for some of our group, has already come to an end. We remember them with fondness.)

During our time on this earth, life will hand us many different “Dear Johns”. Many of you are aware of my illness. I will most probably not see some of you again. Please keep me and my family in your thoughts and prayers as we continue to walk the road that has been set before us.

My wife and I watched the movie  “The Theory of Everything” yesterday. It tells some of the story of Professor Stephen Hawking who also has motor neurone disease and who researched and continues to research  the theories of TIME!  In a very poignant closing scene in the movie, the Professor talking to his ex-wife, refers to their children and says, “See what we have made!”

As a young teacher, just a few years older than yourselves, I taught you mathematics and computer studies, but I don’t think we ever spoke about life or what we make with it. We were all too young for that!

In some sorts, you are also “children of mine”. If I may then, let me give you one last lesson: Let me encourage you to make the most of each and every day. Live for the moment. Live each day as if it were your last, because some day it will be! 

See what you can make with your Time on this earth!

Until we meet again … thank you for the memories.

Your teacher and friend

Ed Lunnon

 

Packing Up

Monday 17 January 2011: 4 years 4 months on …

Those of us who are privileged to live at the coast are only too familiar with tides.

 

Twice a day, every day, the tide flows and the tide ebbs. The water rushes in and crashes against the seashore, the level rises by many metres and it fills up every nook and cranny that it possibly can – and then, it all rushes out, disappears, leaves a few puddles here and there and large stretches of wet sand. Some six odd hours later, the whole cycle repeats itself.

 

Each of these events in the tidal cycle has a special beauty and uniqueness of its own.

 

Similarly, those of us who are privileged to live at the coast are only too familiar with the people tides.

 

Once a year, every year, at Christmas time, thousands of people from all over the country flow into our coastal towns and then leave. They rush in, crash against everything, raise the population levels by many thousands and fill up every nook and cranny that they possibly can – and then, they rush out, disappear, leave a few reminders here and there and large stretches of sand for those left behind to enjoy.

 

Each of these two events in the people cycle, too, has a special beauty and uniqueness of its own.     

 

We, as a family, are extremely privileged to be at the coast all year round – we simply move the 100 odd kilometres from Port Elizabeth to St Francis Bay.

 

We see both the City and the Village experience their annual flow and ebb and we experience the beauty and uniqueness of each.

 

And so, for the last five weeks, we have had the privilege of holidays, sea and sun, family and friends, sleep and relaxation, Christmas and New Year, beach and sea and river, and as we say in South Africa –  braaivleis, sonskyn, rugby (krieket?) en Chevrolet!

 

But, all good things come to that end, and so, this past weekend it became the time to pack up in the Village and return to the City. The summer holidays have ended and the time to work and study is about to begin.

 

For Pera and Phillip, it is back to school; for newly-matriculated Sean, it is a new beginning at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (to study marketing) and for me, the challenges of 2011 and CBD. Will this be the year?

 

Behind us, in St Francis Bay, we leave the blankness of those magnificent white houses, standing empty for the next eleven months, but still glistening in the bright sunlight. Every piece of dark thatch has a white capping – they are a practical example of the saying that every dark cloud has a silver lining!

 

Collectively, the houses with their black thatched roofs and white capping look like a box of giant Oreo biscuits.

 

Individually, they remind me that, paradoxically, even in emptiness there is fullness; in nothing there is beauty; in quiet and solitude there is the promise of a new beginning; and in Death there is Life.

 

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
From The Holy Bible (King James Version)
Attributed to King Solomon
 

To everything there is a season, and 
a time to every purpose under heaven: 

A time to be born, and 
a time to die; 
a time to plant, and 
a time to pluck up 
that which is planted; 

A time to kill, and 
a time to heal; 
a time to break down, and 
a time to build up; 

A time to weep, and 
a time to laugh; 
a time to mourn, and 
a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and 
a time to gather stones together; 
a time to embrace, and 
a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and 
a time to lose; 
a time to keep, and 
a time to cast away; 

A time to rend, and 
a time to sew; 
a time to keep silence, and 
a time to speak; 

A time to love, and 
a time to hate; 
a time of war; and 
a time of peace.