Boarding School – remembering things that have laid a foundation for my life.

I moved around a whole lot when I was little – with both parents in the Navy it was guaranteed we would be somewhere new every three years or shorter and I was always starting a new school. I believe between pre-k to middle school I went to something like 14 different schools. I lost track at some point. I didn’t have any siblings so I always had this “me against the world” feeling and I totally loved it. I got so used to always being new it made me very outgoing and eager to meet new people. A skill that I think really helps me out today. I’d lived in Hawaii, Rhode Island and England (several different locations in each) all by the time I was 7. All of those things shaped who I am today and I wouldn’t trade the awesome experiences that I had for anything.

So wrapped in all that information are several facts that you may or may not know about me (even if we have been friends for a long time, sometimes it just doesn’t come up): I’m an only child, I went to a british boarding school when I was 8 and had the most proper british accent. We moved back to the states, California specifically, before I was 10 and I promptly lost my accent (after a certain age most people retain their accent but when you are young you pick up accents and drop them easily) I’m sad though, it would have been so cool to still have a british accent. However, now I’m just a jumbled mess of accent, people ALWAYS ask me where i’m from because I don’t sound like anywhere in particular.

I am telling you all of these things because I just was thinking to myself about how many things I probably don’t know about some of my closest friends. I never “grew up” with one group of friends that I know everything about. A lot of my friends have completely the opposite experiences.

Boarding school – what a cool chapter of my life. Here in the U.S. everyone automatically thinks you were a wild child for going to boarding school but it is very common in Europe to attend prep schools and boarding schools as just normal kids. In my case, my parents were stationed somewhere with not a lot of kids my age so I asked to go to school there because I knew a friend that was there.

I came across my boarding school online tonight and I just couldn’t help but share it. It is called Hanford and while I know there have been many changes since I was there some 18 or so years ago, the pictures on the website are just as I remember the school. An old mansion with a lot of rooms and some very long standing traditions that make sense to no one else other than Hanford “old girls” as all the alumni are called.

I really cherish the time that I had there and just wonder what kinds of experiences other people have had that seemed totally normal at the time but now that you look back on it you realize that it was a truly unique once in a lifetime kind of deal?

Here are some pics of the school – totally reminds me of some of the scenes from Harry Potter. Below is the dining hall. We had a chart of table manners that started at piglet and went to Royal Guest. You did not want to stay at the piglet level long. Great way to teach manners! I still utilize those manners today.

This is a view of the main school building where most of the dorms are for the younger girls. There were all sorts of rules and if you know me at all then you know that I was often in trouble. For me, this was like a huge sleepover every night. I lived in one dorm that had 4 girls and then the next term there were like 10 or 12 of us in a large dorm. A bunch of 8-9 year olds = trouble. For sure. Below is the back of the school and the large lawn and then the bottom is the front of the school. Huge old mansion.

Do you have some random adventures from childhood that you love to share?



2 thoughts on “Boarding School – remembering things that have laid a foundation for my life.

  1. I am a parent of an only child who just started boarding school, ninth grade. I enjoyed reading your blog and appreciate your insight and perspective. She has adjusted well and hearing the outcome from your experience I am sure she will do just fine.

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