Friends like sisters, going to the cinema, and parties on Saturdays are some of the milliard memories of this former student who was a boarder during almost her entire school years. Today she tells us anecdotes about these important school days that – as she said – were her best years.
Gloria could be a full day talking about her days in the Santiago College Boarding School. For her, these were her wonder years, a period of her life that she remembers as if it were yesterday, with much joy and at the same time nostalgic of those times that were so much fun and will never return.
Coming from Talca, Gloria Gelmi arrived as a boarder in sixth grade to a very state-of-the-art school in those days and quite liberal for her traditional family from Talca. Even though she spent almost all her school life away from her parents, she never had time to miss them, as she was always surrounded by friends and much accompanied. “Sharing our lives was absolutely spontaneous; we loved each other so much, because we were all in the same sack. We supported each other, we shared, we kept our secrets and all the silly things we made; it was like being always with friends”, she stated.
She finished school in 1963 and studied Pedagogy at Universidad de Chile. Soon after graduating from university she returned to Santiago College, but as a teacher, and, without realizing, she has been teaching first-graders for more than 30 years.
Gloria’s memories of her boarding-school times are infinite, but, no doubt, one of the best recollections is their table-turning evenings, when they sat at the round tables in their rooms, trying to call some errant soul, who would have pity for them and tell them the answers to the tests. Or when they opened all the shower taps at the same time, so that the steam would cover the smoke of their cigarettes. Another very good anecdote that she remembers is when the boyfriend of her friend Mariana came in his motorbike to the School and stopped in Los Leones street – to which all the rooms of the boarding school looked at –. There he sang songs for all of them. “Mariana took out a very old buzzing walkie-talkie, asked him for songs, and he sang them. We were thrilled to bits! One day they caught us and punished us during three week-ends,” she laughed.
Gloria said that she is very grateful for having had the chance to study in Santiago College. Being able to speak English is one of the things she appreciates most, as it has enabled her to interact with foreigners and make the most of each trip she has made. But surely, most important for her has been the autonomy she gained when she was a boarding student. “Independence in making decisions is really important and is practiced every day in your life,” she stated.