WHAT KATY DID: Remember the days of the old school yard?

Year 6 class photo.
Year 6 class photo.

Want to feel old?

Just head to the 35th birthday celebrations for your former primary school.

That will do the trick.

I did just that this week.

Among the former staff and students it was amazing to see familiar faces I thought were ancient in my childhood still around.

Not only are they still around, they’re actually not that old.

I guess at the age of nine, everyone older than, say, 30, looks elderly.

To nine-year-old me, I would look like an old nanna now.

What struck me most about returning to primary school was the number of friends I shared a class with that I am still friends with.

Number one among these friends is Nathan, who I work with today. (That’s us in the poor-quality photo.)

In constant competition, Nathan and I spent years trying to one-up each other academically and on the sporting field.

He was always that little bit smarter than me, but I was a much faster runner.

We often look back on our days at school and laugh – not just at our haircuts.

He was naughty; I was – mostly – well behaved. He named his reading group after the German secret state police; I named mine for my favourite band of the time.

Year 4/5.

Year 4/5.

As we toured our former halls of learning we fell into step, reminiscing about the old days.

My friends – Rachel, Jacinta, Amanda, Tracy – all still live in Mandurah, as do many our former classmates.

One, Tyren, is godfather to my daughter.

Another’s mum helped deliver my baby 12 years ago.

We’ve all got on with our lives, but mostly we still share many links to our hometown.

As I wandered the pathways through my old school on Tuesday, so many memories came flooding back.

There was the place I used to practice piano after school; there was the spot Nathan grazed his knee.

Thankfully, the door to the old principal’s office had been covered up.

Nathan used to spend a fair bit of time there, and the time I spent there I’d rather forget. Still, we turned out okay.

We still compete, but these days it’s mostly to see who can remember the funniest thing from our shared past.

And to compare how old we are.