…..'A sense of humour lends you poise, it gives you balance and it helps you to bend without breaking'…..

(HH Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda)

Menory Lane - the schools...part 1

As mentioned yesterday, mum had a bit of a battle getting me into school. Not from lack of readiness; I was reading quite proficiently for my age and could already count and do very simple arithmetic.  

Wickham Market government school, however, was driven by rules in place at the time. Schooling began at 5 years (no kindergarten going on there or then) and to have allowed me in when my mother wanted meant I would have been 4 years of age for the majority of the year.  This could not be permitted. They said.

One of the reasons mum wanted this was that I clearly wanted and was ready for school. The other was that when Mac2 arrived in June of 1963, our larger caravan was suddenly looking a little small.  It would have helped mum out a lot to have had me off her hands for a portion of each weekday. I can quite clearly recall visiting the headmaster's office with her on a number of occasions as she put forward the case and I even sat an entrance test.  Which I am told was completed with full marks.

This swung the argument and I began the adventure of education that September.  It soon became apparent why age mattered somewhat.  As it turned out I was the youngest in the class and being of a quiet and studious personality, was soon the subject of schoolyard teasing.  Was it bullying at that tender age? 

Probably not truly so, but I do have memories of seeking to be as close as I could be to the yard monitor. Mum had to make a visit or two to talk to teachers.

It was not to be endured for long however, as the growing family, improved work placement of the father and a mother who was always thinking ahead meant that the first bricks and mortar property was purchased.  On the outskirts of Ipswich (semi-rural then but not now!), 682 Norwich Road was to be our home for about 6 years.  From that bungalow, I attended Whitton Junior School.  My first year there was problematic.  I had turned inwards after the Wickham experience and did not make pals easily.  My grades dropped and there is one horrific, still very alive memory, of being in the headmaster's office with mother.  In my presence he said to her, '...so we are wondering if perhaps she is a dunce.'

Can you imagine those terms being used now??!!!  My mother went into fix-it mode and I endured many years of at-home extra-curricular tutoring.  The only thing was that I most certainly was not a dunce.  I kept acing the tests given.

What I was, though, was a sensitive, intelligent kid who got easily bored as the class was mostly behind my own standard and I tended to fall into staring out the window.  Never a good look to the teacher out front.  Further, I had been the subject of serious peer criticism and scorn.  

Then, in my second year there, I was put in Mrs Mack's class.  Here was the first of the teachers to be remembered.  What a wonderful lady.  I was picked for special duties.  I was used to do things in front of class and I was listened to. I became happy, settled and productive.  I still have the reports from those days and the marks, whilst not brilliant, stand up well and show the improvement.

Aspects which helped me along at this time were; joining the Girl Guides, going to dancing and piano classes, taking riding lessons and finding my Spirit.  It was when I was seven years old that I nearly floored mother with the request to attend Sunday School...

Me, Mac2 and Mac1 in the back yard of the Norwich Road home.  1969 I think... You will note that I was already falling behind in the growth stakes!


  1. A sensitive teacher is worth her weight in gold. Or his, as the case may be. How fortunate you found her.

  2. Wow, Yam, I can certainly relate to this. I started school when I was 5, and very much ready for the challenge. However, the school board decided to try an "experiment" and took about 10 or 15 (I forget the number now) of the brightest children out of Grade 2 after two weeks, and put us in Grade 3.
    Hence, I started Junior High at the age of 10 (yes, ten) and went through hell for several years.
    When my father bought 6 acres on the backside of a mountain and said "We're going to build a house" we were switched to country schools, and I flourished. Too late, however, to make up the damage done by bullies for four years, however, so I didn't graduate with honors, but I did graduate and go on to enjoy some higher education.
    In your photo, Mac1 reminds me of me when my mother finally let me have my long braids cut off. (Before Junior High, thank goodness.)
    Sorry I haven't been commenting. I haven't been doing any writing, just posting Dick's photos, because I am still exhausted. Usually takes me a week to recover from overseas travel.
    Luv, K

  3. I too can relate. I was very quiet and shy in my early years. And like you it was a special teacher that took me under her wing and made school fun.

  4. Teachers play such an important role in our children's lives!

  5. Bad teachers do damage but it only takes one good teacher to turn it all around they are worth their weight in gold.

  6. My first two years were kindergarten and I didn't start proper school until I was 6. I was fine with that. I was never outstanding in any subject, nor was I a 'dunce'. I was in the middle and fine with it. Just your average child.

  7. I too was always the youngest in the class until I was 12 and then one girl was younger than me.
    My eldest grandson was always bored in class and would become disruptive. In grade 1 he would be given grade 3 work and even then he was bored.
    It seems he may have a mild form of autism as he is wonderful with figures and has a brilliant mind.
    He studied difficult subjects at university but now at age 31 he works in the hospitality industry. A very fine mind gone to waste. He even gets bored with jobs once he has mastered them.
    You were so fortunate in finding an understanding teacher who it is possible set you on the right path on which you continued for the rest of your schooling.
    Me? I was never top of the class but usually 2nd, 3rd or 4th so did reasonably well.

  8. Wonderful post, Yam. Those special teachers are beyond price and I'm so glad you found one in time.


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