Madge Bettany gave a sigh. It was hard to believe, they were celebrating the Chalet School’s Silver Jubilee; twenty-five years. She smiled. If someone had told her all those years ago that she would still be running the school twenty five years later, Madge would never have believed it. And she would never have been able to explain her disbelief, only to say, she was too busy concentrating on getting the school set up to even imagine what would be happening twenty-five years later.
Madge’s gaze fell onto her deputy, Nell Wilson. Nell had taken over from Mademoiselle Lepattre after her death during the War. Nell had been a dear. Madge smiled at herself in amusement for describing Nell thus. Nell, was strong and true, sarcastic at times, but dear didn’t always describe her. Madge liked and admired her deputy and was profoundly grateful she had chosen her, she had been a tower of strength, but in her heart of hearts, Madge knew it wasn’t the same as it had been, when Therese was her co-Head. Therese had been her partner and had become her dearest friend, an almost mother figure, while Nell as her deputy, became the younger sister, someone to lead.
'Though' thought Madge 'How many times she was the one who pushed me along the road. I doubt the school would have restarted in England after the Anschluss, if it weren’t for Nell telling me to stir my stumps and find another site for the school.'
Madge laughed softly to herself; so many memories, so many decisions which were tangled up in each other. Who knew what momentous decision would have changed her life and sent it into a completely different direction?
She gazed at the girls in the Hall and gripped hold of the lectern.
“Girls,” she said, her voice easily carrying to all the corners of the room. “We have an important announcement to make. A very important even took place twenty-five years ago.”
Madge smiled in amusement at the puzzled look on everyone’s faces. More than one girl looked to be calculating the years backward to work out what event Madame was talking about. It was Rosalind Russell who guessed.
“That was the year the school started,” she shouted, leaping to her feet. Madge smiled at her enthusiasm,
“That’s right. Twenty-five years ago, I made the decision to start the Chalet School in Tiernsee, Tyrol. Next term will be the twenty-fifth anniversary of the first term of the Chalet School.”
At her words an excited babble of voices broke out, which Madge stilled by raising her hands.
“I know you’re excited,” she said, “but, we do have some more things to add and then, you may go and discuss this to your heart’s content.”
The girls quietened down and listened eagerly.
“We, the staff, do have some ideas of how we would like to celebrate our anniversary : namely, we'd like to have a reunion week during our final week of the school, so we may catch up with all those who were pupils or taught here, or are connected to our school in some way” continued Madge, with a smile, “However, we would like to hear from you girls on how you would like to celebrate the Silver Jubilee. Now does anyone have any questions?”
There was a forest of hands waving. “Yes - Gretchen Von Ahlen,” said Madge, pointing to a girl.
“How long will we have to think of ideas?” she asked shyly.
“You’ll have two weeks,” replied Madge. “There will be a box in each of the Common Rooms.”
“And girls, while I remember it,” said Nell, bounding to her feet, “Please write legibly. We don’t have time to try and decipher bad handwriting.”
Madge hid a smile, “Next,” she said.
“Please,” said Janice Chester standing, “Will we be combining with any of the other schools at all?”
Madge and Nell looked at each other, before Madge turned back to the girls. “We are hoping to, during our reunion week. As the Austrian branch is at the original school, we will have the reunion week here. We are also hoping to spend time at our French and English branches. We’re still trying to sort out possibilities, so we will let you know more when we know. Does anyone have any other questions?”
Everyone tried to rack their brains to think of something to ask, but couldn’t, so Madge dismissed them and very sympathetically sent them all off for a walk.
“They’ll never concentrate,” she said, “It’s far better to let them walk off their excitement.”
Nell agreed and gave Madge a bright eyed look. “Do you know; I’m curious as to what they’ll come up with to celebrate?”
“So am I,” said Madge, “so am I.”
I would like to thank Beecharmer for proofreading this and for encouraging me to finish this.
This is an alternative look what would happen if Madge never married Jem Russell, but stayed on as Headmistress at the Chalet School