It’s generally believed that I’m a pushover and that I can’t say ‘no’ to anything. That isn’t quite true, actually, there are various jobs I’ve been asked to take on that I’ve refused, or ones that I could have become involved with that I made sure I steered well clear of (such as the Parish Council), although it’s quite true that there were others that I would not have chosen. When I first became a school governor, I used it as a reason to turn down everything else for several years and I was right to do so – although the job wasn’t nearly as much work as it is now, I became clerk to the governors at the same time and had to learn everything from scratch.
It was about this time of year that it happened, probably the beginning of August, and the then Rector phoned me and asked if I’d consider being nominated as a governor at the village school where Ro was due to start in the coming year. His birthday being in summer, he didn’t start until after Easter – nowadays, schools normally take all children at the start of the school year in which they are five, then it was the term of their birthday. I was quite pleased to be asked, naive little thing that I was, and agreed. Then he asked if I’d be clerk (secretary) as well. I could have said no, but it hardly seemed fair – that he’d asked the questions that way round and risked getting a governor but not a clerk was good of him, I thought.
I not only offered to become a governor at the high school, I actually stood for election, when Ro was in his second year there. I’d never been a governor at the middle school, although I’d been secretary of the PTA – I’d been daft enough to go along to the AGM and had been nominated by a (slightly false) friend. So that was one thing I hadn’t intended to do, but I didn’t really mind, and there would be a time limit on it anyway, as Ro would only be at the school for four years. I was still at the primary school, I was far too fond of it to leave at that stage.
The other thing I did get manoeuvered into was the PCC, the management committee of the church. I had volunteered to play the organ, against my better judgement, but they were without an organist and the Rector had bought some ghastly taped music and I couldn’t put up with it. Several years later, I received a phone call from the Rector (not the same one; the first one was John, this was Sam). He was quite anxious and asked to come and see me. He said he had something to say to me, he didn’t want to say it, he knew I wouldn’t be happy but he had to do it. I said, come straight round, but I was bewildered. The only thing I could think of was that my pathetically bad organ playing had received so many complaints that he was going to give me the sack. Sadly not – the secretary of the PCC had resigned and no one else could type. I was so concerned about his anxiety that it was quite natural to say, reassuringly, that I didn’t mind at all, of course I’d help. Sucker.
Having written all this, I can see that I am rather a pushover after all. However, I have learned one thing, and that is to quit when things are going well. If the organisation, whatever it is, is struggling, then I feel mean to leave them in the lurch. It’s when I don’t really want to go, because it’s a pleasure and it’s all running smoothly that I won’t be missed at all and I can slip away and feel I’ve completed my job. And, as inevitably happens, things start to hot up again after a while, I can feel relieved that I’m well away from it.