Monday, 28 May 2012

Meet: Marilyn

(Mentor, Mother figure, Superwoman)

Marilyn is the Lead disciplinarian Learning Mentor at the Primary School I work at. She's been a great help over the past 18months+. Especially in the earlier months when a child I was working with liked to spend more time under the table than sat at it. Marilyn is hugely appreciated at the school by the staff, children  and parents alike and rightly so because without Marilyn there's no doubt the school would quickly descend into a giant Mad Hatter's Tea Party.

The best way for me to describe Marilyn at work would be to say:
imagine that Miss Trunchbull and Miss Honey had a black baby together - stay with me - because believe me you don't want to be a child on the wrong side of Marilyn. I've heard her shout and it ain't pretty. But on the flip side, her nice side is full of huge smiles, infectious laughter, tight hugs and warm praise. It's no wonder that the children idolise her.

Mini Olympics

Marilyn's daughter is twenty now, so it must have been ten years ago. This particular summer, Marilyn, her husband and daughter, along with Marilyn's sister Angie, her husband and their nine year old son went on holiday to Spain.

A few days into the holiday, the Spanish measures had been flowing the night before and in neighbouring rooms Marilyn and her sister woke with killer hangovers only intensified by the sticky Spanish morning. Neither in any state to get up before noon, the husbands took the kids down to the pool.

Ten minutes later a knock came at Marilyn's door. Doing her best to ignore it she rolled over and stuffed her head under a pillow. The knocking was timid but was very persistent - assuming it to be her husband coming back for something - Marilyn delicately made her way to the door. Slowly opening the painfully creaky door she found Angie beckoning her into their room next door. "Can you hear that?"

Moving - still very gingerly - across the hotel room towards the veranda Marilyn could now hear it too - a newly familiar voice blowing in through the open window, from the poolside down below. (Londoner trying to do a Spanish accent) "Marilyn and Angie we want you for the Mini Olympics." A short pause... "If you don't come down we'll have to come up for you.”

Begrudgingly Marilyn and her sister decided that going down was marginally better than being fetched and so slowly made their way to the poolside. The 'mini olympics' were about to start and Marilyn and Angie were about to find out the full extent of what they were in for.

Seemingly every adult in the hotel – including their husbands who were on the opposing side – were divided into two giant relay teams. As the race kicked off the splitting headache and desperate dehydration really starting to kick in and Marilyn was struggling to just stand up in the mid-afternoon sun.

With the whole of the hotel looking on, first you had to run down the length of the pool, stopping every couple of yards to put on different item of clothing before jumping in the pool and using a semi-inflated lilo to swim to the other side. Marilyn faded to the back of the line but there was no hiding place.

Marilyn's moment of glory had finally arrived. The two teams were neck and neck with one team member left each. And they were off. Racing down the poolside throwing the clothes on and... well at least the opposing team were. Lets just say Marilyn took it at a slightly more gentle pace.

The sun sweating away the last few drops of moisture in her body, Marilyn made her way to the first item of clothing – by which time the person on the opposing team was already leaping into the pool – spurned on by a cheering crowd Marilyn summoned as much energy as she could and although her head and muscles were cheering in unison for her to stop; she made it to the side of the pool. But now was not time for heroics. The other team had long finished, all Marilyn could do now was complete the course.

Slowly lowering herself into the pool, Marilyn grabbed a hold of the deflated lilo and pushed out into the centre of the pool. But by this time there was nothing left to give, her legs were kicking but nothing was happening. Lots of splashing and flailing but no forward momentum.

The sun, heavy cardio workout and most importantly the killer hangover had done her in. Children staring on from the poolside and husbands from the finish line, Marilyn continued to splash around in the middle of the pool, until, fearing for her safety, a tall dark Spanish holiday rep dove into the water fully clothed – shoes and all – to save the "drowning" Marilyn. 

Written by Anthony Hett

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