Sunday, 6 November 2016

Sundays at school; a class rebellion; school in wartime

'Our sunday walk at Wellington, sunday afternoons, was either around to Belleisle Conservatory and back along the beach, or the other way. When we were older we were allowed to go ourselves. We used to go to Rozelle House for our Guide activities. I joined the Guides during the war, so I never got to go camping. '

'Sunday night was when we all sat down to write our letters home, to our parents. Miss Garret the music teacher -'Gertie' - was the vice-principal, or 'second in command' - she took all our letters unsealed and read through them, for spelling, punctuation, and to check that we weren't saying anything derogatory about the school or teachers.'

'And when we were fourteen, we thought it wasn't fair that our letters should be read, so we - a group of us - went to Miss Carter, the headmistress, and asked her if we could seal our own envelopes. Miss Carter hadn't known that our letters were read, and told us to send them up next week sealed. It got to the next sunday, and we sealed our letters, and Gertie said "Girls! Who told you to seal your letters?" "Miss Carter" we replied, and Gertie wasn't very pleased.'

'Only one time, I remember, during the war, we could see a great glow in the sky in the distance from the dorm room window, when Clydebank was burning. That was the only time we spent down in the big hall, during the bombing. Four nights we spent down there. We lay on our matresses on the floor. It's quite a big entrance hall, once you go up the steps and through the door. I think most of us were in the hall, all cuddled up with one another. But some might have been in the dining room, all the big downstairs rooms. But wartime never really touched this part of the country. Oh we had false alarms and all the rest of it...'

'I  remember one time I'd been to the dentist, and I was sent home to rest because I was feeling a bit woozy from the sedation. I was in my bed, and I saw a plane over the sea, out the window, so I got up to look. I thought 'that plane's not flying right', and it got lower and lower and one wing tip just dipped in the sea, and the plane tumbled over and was down. It was over the weekend and they tried to lift it, but they couldn't, not til the monday. The pilot was still in the cockpit when they found him.'

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