…..'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 5

Rounding off the Claydon years.

I was shuffling through some of the old papers which have somehow clung to my files. There were the yearly reports from Whitton, the scripture certificates from the Bible society, the swimming and gymnastics certificates and badges... and the headmaster's report at end of schooling.  It could not be said to be 'glowing', but is is certainly not poor.

In fact, having kept every reference since that time, there is a definite theme appearing. Lines such as "...pleasant, friendly and sympathetic, tempered by a degree of reserve. She is capable and most reliable and her relationship with staff and pupils has been excellent throughout..."  or, "...has always maintained high personal standards of work and behaviour with a marked degree of determination..." could have been a blueprint and surely Mr Chapman observed the emerging adult.

Memories of CMS are somehow a little more vague than those of junior years.  This could in part be due to the fact that they were happy years, more settled than much of the younger times.  It would also be because I finally had a 'group'.  

Then there were all the extra activities; school choir, recorder group, gym club, drama, sailing, fund raising, Duke of Edinburgh Awards...

Always involved and yet rarely at the forefront.  The very few occasions I recall attempting to step out of the shadows tended to result in pain of some sort.  Be it bullying by Princess Nicky and her servants (resulting in many a 'talk' about how I should not fear other folks' jealousy) or feeling the heavy hand of Mr Humby banging my head against another pupil's (try that now you oafish bombast!) or being called to headmaster's office... who would have thought a home made beaded head band would cause such a stir?  School uniform was strictly adhered to then.

Internal imprint?  Work hard, work clever, make others look good.  I have pretty much spent my life as the 2nd in command.

The other thing to consider in that, though, was my continually emerging spiritual self. For some reason, religious studies at Claydon did not impress themselves on me.  There are dim scenes in memory of an unruly class, a variety of teachers, none of whom (I suspect) held truly strong faith themselves.

The house we had to moved to in the village had a rear garden entrance which permitted entry to the church; C of E and by comparison to my Baptist experience, very 'high'. The choir there performed a lot of plain chant and I quickly found myself a member. So investigations of faith continued.

Mac1 and Mac3 were fast coming up behind me and they were getting involved with youth groups and discos.  Neither of these were of interest to me.  I preferred to stay in my room reading and writing.  Mother worried about this... there was the famous line of "you are going to end up a spinster hermit!!" Said in frustration at my lack of social adventure. Yet strangely prophetic.

I was not, of course, a hermit;  simply selective in my options.  The end of school report proves that.  I enjoyed life, but gently.


  1. Did they get anything right, I lost mine so I'm not sure what they said about me but they did call a spade a spade then and sometime were very hurtful.

  2. Having a clear understanding of oneself is crucial.

  3. Hari Om, Yam! This rag a bell: "I was not, of course, a hermit; simply selective". This is close to my "I'm not antisocial. Just selectively social." Nopthing wrong with it (says the single man). Indigo x

  4. I am still a hermit!
    Thank you for your comforting words.

  5. I'm glad things worked out so that you could be yourself at school. I had something called "potential" in the 1950s, and was pushed ahead in school so that I was beyond hope. Teachers expected great things of me and were annoyed when I, overwhelmed by the strange social behaviour of my classmates, and their antipathy toward my obvious youth, did not live up to the expectations.
    One year, when I was 11, I spent more time in the girls' counsellor's office than in class, and most of it crying.
    Your story rings many bells with me, though, especially before your essential goodness was recognized.
    Luv, K

  6. Really enjoyed reading this interesting and beautifully expressed account of your later schooldays. It brought back memories of that time in my life, even though our experiences of school were quite different.
    Cheers, Gail.


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