Rosemary and Rue.
Recollections of a Forest of Dean Childhood
Peace in our time ?
1938 - My last days of school
We moved from the fifth form into the commercial sixth. Already those of our contemporaries who were going to college and university seemed beings from another planet. They had moved into the sixth form to take their higher school certificates. Most of them had become prefects with the coveted silver badge pinned to their gym slips or blazers. They occupied the library as their form room, emerging occasionally to warn off some innocent little junior who was unwise enough to be sitting on the hot water pipes in the cloakroom instead of running around in the healthy (freezing) air outside in the playground.
We were banished to our new classrooms ... two tiny dressing rooms behind the stage in the assembly hall cum gymnasium. I think I was fated to have that hall haunting me throughout my schooldays. That gymnasium where the wall bars terrified me and that awful horse thing which I, a little podge, never ever mastered. I wasn't too keen on assembly either. Staff in their academic gowns: the procession to the stage with the headmaster in gown and mortar board, his saturnine countenance giving him the appearance of a vulture.
In our cramped quarters we tapped away on our ancient Imperials and Underwoods "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog." What rubbish!
No brown fox however quick, would have come anywhere near our Grandad' s Lassie! we practised our Pitman's shorthand and I thought I would never master all those little squiggles and loops. (Come to think of it, I never did!)