Like all the other kids in the same age and predicament the ritual began with your mother dressing you up in your new outfit consisting of gray knee length pants, gray socks, black shoes, white shirt, striped tie of the school colours and the blazer with the fancy crest stitched to the breast pocket. The girls were dressed likewise, other than gray pants, they wore gray smock dresses and black patent shoes with straps.
The next step in the process was to add a dollop of that foul intoxicating smelly hair cream your father used, rubbing it into your hair then brushing it to keep your hair flattened to your head. It worked like some magical quick drying bonding agent clumping batches of hair together cementing them in place.
Be it fall or winter there was no wavering from the rules, short pants for the boys and knee length pleated smock dresses for the girls. Gone now are those glorious fall mornings when the cold lashing rain would beat down upon you or those frigid winter mornings when the ground would be covered with treacherous frosts, the rules never changed as you entered into the school yard where everyone waited until the ringing of the bell, then and only then were you ushered inside.
Drearily you would be herded along dripping water like some bedraggled stray dog or a frozen Imp with stinging red legs only to be allowed to hang your bookbag and sodden blazer on the hook assigned to you in the hallway. If by chance you were fortunate enough to have parents who could afford to buy you a raincoat, it too would hang alongside forming small lakes along the wall's edge. Then it was over to the opposing wall where you stood paranoid or whispered like a will-o-the-wisp if you were outgoing enough to make a new friend in those first few days.
Next, in single file you were marched off down to the assembly hall and lined up in rows like matchsticks in alphabetical order by the first letter of your last name shuffling your feet and shivering while you attempted to warm yourself from the chill you had just caught as you stood there aimlessly all the while you’re hair dripped beads of water onto your shoulders as the ex-army sergeant new employed as the school gym teacher marched the lines calling out the jokers like a referee.
This ritual wasn’t done for badness or anything, it was more a form of corporal punishment.