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 THE WAY WE WERE

Happiest days of our lives?

The days we spent at school are, according to the old saying, the happiest of our lives.
Not in every case, though.
For looking back decades later on those sometimes not such halcyon times it is a fact that the memory often plays tricks, recalling the good rather than the bad.
And way back in the Fifties there were plenty of days when school life was not exactly happy.
No being taken to the school gates in mum’s four by four or people carrier in those days.
Remember setting out from the warmth of home on a cold, rainy and windy winter’s morning, with rubber Wellingtons chapping your legs? By the time you arrived at school you were wet through and thoroughly miserable, leaving your coat on a peg in a dismal cloakroom to retrieve it still damp hours later.
Many will recall also the “dick nurse” on her regular visits to check young heads for lice?
Or perhaps the worst school experience of the lot - the visit of the dentist.
Ours came in a small caravan and us youngsters waited in fear for the classroom door to open and our names to be called.
Imagine the uproar today if a child went home having undergone the torture of having a thick black rubber mask held over their face while gas poured out of it and sent them to sleep.
But it happened and no questioned were asked .The offending tooth removed, the victim was issued with a swab and allowed to partially recover before being sent back to lessons.
Years later many of us look back on experiences such as that and still fear and hate a regular visit to our dentist.
Discipline ruled at school and you obeyed the rules or else.
How many of us still remember having to hold out a trebling hand to have it slapped hard by a ruler wielding teacher? Or - just as painful - having bare legs slapped, a tactic which today would bring prosecution and compensation payments.
Yet despite these happenings school life was on the whole good.
Teachers were generally kind and patient, Schools did their best with limited resources to shape our young lives.
Times were hard in the early years of the 1950s and the effects of the war were still very much with us.
The happiest days of our lives?
What do you think?

*Go a Fifties school memory? E-mails plase.

Written by The Editor - 30/01/2007 19:59:45

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