Can't Wait

by Paula Radice



Am writing this in a torture of anticipation, awaiting the arrival of Chronicles. The snippets and extracts that have been published so far - Newsweek, The Sunday Telegraph, and a few lucky early readers' thoughts on the internet today - all bode really well. Certainly the extracts in the Telegraph this morning read beautifully: who could have guessed that after all these years Dylan would be willing to write so expansively and expressively about things he's never previously spoken about in public? I have informed my Headteacher that I will require a day off school when the postman brings the book; she laughed (can't think why). I guess I'll just have to take Chronicles into school, tell the children to occupy themselves quietly all day (as eight-year-olds are so good at doing, in my experience), and curl up in a corner of the classroom to read it... 

My new class are already getting the importance of Dylan. I informed them last week that every time the boys started talking about football (which is the most boring thing in the entire world, with the possible exception of Lord of the Rings), I would put some Dylan in the CD player. Now  every time one of the boys forgets and starts talking about football, the others all look really concerned and tell him quickly to hush up "otherwise Miss Radice will put that awful music on again". (It isn't the first time I've found Bob useful in shutting people up. A few years ago, when I was living in Durham, I was receiving frequent indecent phone calls: after playing The Times They Are A-Changin' down the phone line loudly every time the idiot rang, the calls ceased. Thanks, Bob.) 

I had a great time in Cambridge and Peterborough last weekend. It was great to see so many friends, and especially the Freewheelers who were there. Richard had travelled even further than I had to see the Cambridge crowd! It was a really good evening (and into the morning), with Mr Agar excelling himself in the entertaining. Thank you, Chris (and Brenda, of course) for putting me up - and putting up with me - so hospitably, and letting me meet the cats! Congratulations again to the Cambridge group for reaching your 20th anniversary. 

I came back to Hastings to good news: my Acting Deputy Headship is being extended to Easter (it was initially only for one term, up to Christmas), and so I will be getting some excellent experience in case I feel like applying for a full Deputy Headship sometime. We shall see.  I've been at the same school for ten years exactly (as of this week) and feel like a permanent feature.

There was good news, too, of the Dylan sort. Do you remember me writing, in my piece on the Hibbing holiday, that B.J. Rolfzen, Bob's High School English teacher, was desperate to meet Bob again before it got too late? Well, amazingly, he did last weekend - after a gap of 35 years - meet Dylan again, at the funeral in Hibbing of David Zimmerman's mother-in-law, Myrtle Jurenes. Not only that, but Dylan was apparently very gracious to the elderly man, and B.J. was left delighted with the conversation they had.  David and two of his sons were pallbearers at the funeral, and Bob's two nephews also spent the evening in Zimmy's and bought lots of souvenirs to take home and show their uncle! You can imagine how delighted Bob and Linda Hocking at Zimmy's were about that, too! 

I think what I'm most hoping for from Chronicles is some addition to my growing understanding of what life was like for the young Bob in Hibbing. I don't expect there will be pages of it, but I hope there is some mention of the place and what it was like to grow up there: there's been a taster of that already in the Telegraph today.  I don't think I've ever waited for a book so impatiently...Hope, when it comes, we all enjoy it.  I'm sure we will.