Gdynia September 1977

I'm 14 years old. Today is my first day at the Lyceum for Electro-Mechanics. A school uniform is required, two rows of dark blue or black to choose from, white or blue shirt. Girls may wear skirts or trousers. I chose the pants and a white shirt. For the first day, we need a uniform cap with a white cover. The uniform was sewn by a tailor and I had tried it on before, but today I go out of my apartment, fourth floor in the log cabin and I feel so strange in these stiff clothes. I walk 10 minutes to the train station, then 50 min train ride, then to the bus and still on foot. People see me, a girl in uniform. It's me in there, but who am I outside? For four more years I should walk like this? A lot of other young people dressed the same rush to school- I'm not alone. In the schoolyard hundreds of uniforms, I walk through the building, look for the notice where my class is. At some point in the stadium in front of the school all the classes stand in line, it becomes quiet and the director begins to speak through the microphone…

This is my first conscious memory and experience of the Socialist State.

Also in the elementary school we have worn uniform clothes and changed to special shoes. The bags for these shoes were also not colorful, but dark blue. On May 1, we all had red scarves and marched through the streets of Gdynia. Everybody in line. Maybe that's why I like to be out of line now - in protest.