|Len Maynard sat in the Queen Anne chair which had been sacrosanct to the Head of the Chalet School since ‘time immemorial’. Sixty tomorrow! It hardly seemed possible that the Triplets had reached such an age. There would be a party, of course – they had marked each decade with a big family get-together – Jack and Joey at the head of the big table at Freudesheim; their children, grandchildren and now great-grandchildren gathered around. Poor Mamma! She had never attained the quadruplets she had so desired . . . still, for someone in her eighties she was in pretty good shape, even if Papa was wheelchair-bound now. Sixty; the age at which the Chalet School now required its Heads to retire. A new Headmistress would start in Monday – after Half-term – and Len had come in to clear the last personal effects away – each new Head would naturally stamp their own personality on the room. And the new Head would be none other than Con’s daughter. Con was the only Triplet to have a child, and the only one of Jack and Joey’s offspring to have given them a granddaughter; there were several grandsons, some of whom were themselves now married with sons – a veritable tribe of young Maynards was springing up!|
Looking back over the years since Oxford, teaching was the only life Len had ever wanted; and on the whole, it had been a success. The Headship of the Chalet School, where all the triplets had been educated, had been an added bonus. There had been a few years in English Schools, but then a vacancy had arisen in the English Department at the Chalet School, Len had applied, been appointed, and promotions, first to Head of English, then to Deputy Head and finally to Head itself, had followed. Coming back to the Chalet School from England had been coming Home. Home to Switzerland; home to Mamma, Papa and the rest of the family; home to Reg. For Reg had always been Len’s destiny. Thinking about it now, Len realised that from the first time they had known him Reg had been the young Maynards’ friend, rôle model – though only the youngest triplet had followed their father and Reg into medicine – their lodestar; and this had been particularly true for Len. Now Reg, as well as Papa, had retired from the San., in Reg’s case about ten years ago, and he spent his days pottering about the home he and Len shared on the Gornetz Platz.
As if picking up the vibrations in the air, Reg himself put his head round the door with a loving smile for Len. ‘I thought I’d have to come and dig you out,’ he said, in his dry Yorkshire tones. ‘I knew you’d want to be taking a last look round. But it’s getting late in the day – time to come home. I have got,’ he said impressively, but with an impish grin, ‘a large casserole in the oven, and though I say it myself, it smells fit for a king – if not for a retired Head of the Chalet School!’
Len laughed and moving towards the door, took a last look around the room that had seen so many events in the annals of the School. It would have a new incumbent next week; Len mentally wished her luck, and joined Reg at the door, turning the light out on the way. ‘Yes, Reg. I’m ready now,’ he said. ‘I’m coming home!’
Originally posted to the CBB Feb 2008