Me memba when me did use to go a school, yuh know, man, every night me iron mi uniform til di pleat dem jus stan up sharp like a knife fi cut yuh. When yuh puddung my skirt it coulda almost stand up by itself. Chile, a mornin time see me jus a step kris-kris like any Missis Queen. But by lunchtime all di kris pleat dem cease to kris an di box pleat dem collapse. For nobody coulda romp like me. Wha Dandy-Shandy, an Rounders, an Jacks, an Hop-Skotch. Down to Marble an Gig. No amount a ironing an starching coulda stand up unda dat deh pressure.
Missis, since me come a Foreign, me haffi tell yuh, me miss dose days gone to bed. For mek me tell yuh someting, when me go pon bus an see pickney say dem a go a school, mi heart grieve so til me feel so abased an abashed. For dem grey-back man an ooman wha me see eena short-shorts an midriff a door, me cyaan believe seh is same school like wha me an yuh did go to dat dem going to fi learn Math an English an all such tings.
Me use to tink dat we did fast an forward when we did rebel an say dat we want uniform six inch above di knee. But wha me see some a dem schoolers a wear is more like two inches below di hip. Massi, mi Massa. It used to be a ting of great beauty fi see all a di school pickney dem neat an nice eena dem uniform jus a trod on to school. Some a dem use to have it hard, yuh know, especially when dem come wid di Daylight-tiefing time. For sometime dem deh a bus-stop from before cock a crow, an all di bus an taxi dem wha draw up, all yuh can hear is some bway a bawl out:
“No schoolers, no schoolers.”
But you ever notice how dere is always some bumpy face bway wha always hang offa di bus wha always like off di prettiest high school girl pon di bus. An wha mek it worse she always check back fi him. Me memba one time dese two schoolgirls ketch a fight ova dis bus bway dem call ‘Too Sweet’. One pieca tear up uniform an buss up head.
Mi chile, uniform was a ting use to mek pickney behave. For if yuh gwaan wid anyting pon road, yuh hearsay is a Guinep Hill School pickney did do so an so. An if it get back to di Principal, yuh know seh nex mornin a devotion him a call yuh out, an woe be onto you. Uniform mek yuh know who is pickney an who is big smaddy, yuh hear. An it give yuh respect fi yuhself an yuh school. Me tell yuh, chile, it really foreign a Foreign, man.

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Vjange Hazle