At primary school, The Letter is the law. If it isn’t in a letter, it isn’t sufficiently important for me to worry about forgetting something, being somewhere, paying for something, wearing something, making something or taking something in.
At secondary school, it’s a whole different ball game.
My son played violin in his first school concert the other day. It was a properly prestigious occasion in the large and ornate Town Hall with expensive tickets. He was playing in the junior string group. A tiny little fish in a very big sea.
We did have a letter about the tickets. We had a letter about the rehearsal at the Town Hall during the school day on the day of the concert.
We DIDN’T have a letter about the time he needed to be back at the Town Hall in the evening. I needed to know particularly because it was a work day and I was probably going to have to leave a bit early to get him there. So I asked him to text me to let me know.
The first text came at 11.30am to inform me he was going to be home at normal time. I knew this. It had been in a letter. So I asked if he could let me know what time he needed to be back in the evening.
At 2.15 I got a text to inform me it was 6.15. So I let my mum know because she was looking after the kids.
Then mum rang me. Apparently it was 6. No, 5.45.
I’m still at work at this point. I asked my son why he told me 6.15 when it was 5.45. Or 6.
Surely the 6.15 was right because he’d clearly just asked the teacher then texted me?!
As I got home, the phone rang again. He’d just remembered. It was 6.45. 6.45 now? I could have stayed at work longer. So now it could be 5.45. Or 6. Or 6.15. Or 6.45. It definitely wasn’t 6.30 at least.
At 6.15, as I was leaving the house, my husband (who works opposite the venue) rang to inform me people were going in.
Inside the venue there were no kids in school uniform. Clearly he was late. He pushed his way into a room crowded with strangers and very big people and was gone.
Was it the right room? Would he find his violin? Would he find the rest of the junior string group?
If only we’d had a letter. Or a boy who could listen, remember and pass on basic information. Personally, I’d trust a letter more.