A model schoolgirl? It’s Anna Dewis

Her childhood treasure is a model school, but was copywriter Anna Dewis a model schoolgirl? Well, we don’t know because we didn’t ask that question. Sorry. But we got some great answers, nonetheless.

What object are you writing about and what were your first thoughts when we told you?

“Oh God – my school was nothing like that.” My object is a model of Finmere Primary School which was designed for supporting new teaching practices. My primary school was the same one my mother had attended; in fact one of my teachers had also taught my mother. It was anything but modern.

What lost object from your own childhood would you like to own again, and why?

Nastase on a stripey-kit day

Probably my school satchel. It was covered in the names of boys I liked from my year plus pop stars like Elton John, sportsmen – I particularly liked Ilie Nastase – and even Prince Andrew (I had strange tastes back then). As a chronicle of my teen predilections between the ages of 11 and 14, it would be fascinating to look at again.

Hop into a time machine and it will take you back to one specific hour of you childhood – where and when do you want to go, and why?

I’d go back to 1970 and our junior school production of Oliver. I was 10 and playing Nancy – a part I was quite smug to have bagged. Unfortunately, when I came to sing my torch song, “As long as he needs me”, I missed the spotlight and sang my heart out in the dark. It’s been downhill ever since.

Can you surprise me with one unusual fact about your childhood?

I used to dress my five year-old brother James as a girl. He had curly blonde hair and a cherubic face so I’d regularly put him in a dress and an Alice band. Even when he wasn’t being cross-dressed, people thought he was a girl including our dentist who called him Jane until he was in his teens.

What’s the earliest thing you can remember writing?

I wrote a really rubbish song about ice-skating inspired by my mum’s parquet flooring. In the days before fitted carpets, we had a large rug in the living room surrounded by parquet which was very slippy. I used to slide about on it pretending I was skating. Needless to say, my song rhymed “ice” with “nice”.  Say no more!

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