Left School: 1960
School friends I remember: William Brady;
Seamus McDonnell (he used to live in 85 Heather Rd.), Patrick
McGettigan, William Butler; William or Robert Wilkins; Jacqueline
Cordoza; Dennis Price, (the spelling of some of the names might
not be correct)
Teachers I remember: Infants/Junior School:
Mrs Ellison and Miss Jennings (they were both teachers in my first
class); Miss Moral; Br. Bede (Marist Brother); Br. Louis Andrew
(Marist Brother); Br Nilus (Marist Brother Head Master); Miss
Kelly (Mrs Ozanne English teacher); Mr Robinson (Woodwork teacher);
Mr Harkin (Science teacher);
Memories of my teachers:
-Br Bede: Indefatigable spirit, he involved
everyone in the school activities making crucifixes for presents
and for fund raising. The youth club was his work and it was here
that all ex-pupils found a place to reunite whilst engaging in
activities such as table tennis (the table tennis tables were
made by Br. Bede as far as I can remember and we all gave him
a hand). The youth club was important in raising funds for the
school. We were encouraged to sell raffle tickets and we all went
from house to house during the winter nights selling the tickets
with a healthy competitive spirit. We also raised funds for "children
of Africa", for Father Hudson's Homes and for children less
fortunate than ourselves. Although we had very little ourselves
and many of us had rags as clothes we were in the habit focussing
on those less fortunate and helping them. It then became natural
for us to consider ourselves fortunate and content with what we
had. We were happy and this I believe we owned to those innocent
fund raising activities which helped us to focus on those who
needed from us what we could ill afford but did manage to obtain
with great perseverance and tenacity. This was the precious teaching
and example of Br. Bede. Perhaps it was this that made taking
"six of the best" from him when we transgressed the
school rules not only acceptable but also just and well deserved.
It did make us reflect on what we had done. Caning was accepted
and taking "six of the best" without showing any pain
was a sign of heroism, although someone did flinch just before
the cane was to make contact with the hand. Caning formed us,
made us strong, made us proud when taken without flinching. How
times have changed! Br Bede always spent his time in the playground
talking and playing with us instead of withdrawing with the other
teachers in the staff room and the watchful presence of Mons.
Power was never far away. Br Bede also organised pilgrimages to
Lourdes for ex-pupils.
- I next remember Miss Kelly (later Mrs
Ozanne) for her kindness. I specifically remember her offering
to pay the fees for an examination that she knew one of my class
mates, William Brady, would have passed if he had taken it. In
those days few, if any, had the means to pay for a school uniform
and that was an effective deterrent to sitting exams for Grammar
school or technical college.
I also remember my Essay on H.G. Wells' Mr Polly. She gave
it as homework. I don't know whether it was because of a lack
of attention on my part or whether I simply didn't understand
her instructions but I used a different approach from the one
she suggested. It turned out as a success and I received lavish
praise. I have lived with this example clearly in my mind to this
Now I teach English literature at the University of Parma. From
her I have learnt to help others to make the best of themselves
and not merely to make others become copies of ourselves.
- Other memories are more vague. I remember Mr
Marsh who had the habit of pulling the pupils' hair to get
them to pay more attention to what was being said
- Mr Robinson taught us woodwork. He was
not a Catholic. He was also well liked. My interest in woodwork
has still survived
- Mr Harkin, the Science teacher is remembered
for his experiments not always recalling the "perfumes of
- Br Nilus. Well, we didn't have him as a
teacher he was Headmaster and, as far as I can remember, only
the most recalcitrant of spirits were sent to his office when
no other form of warning or punishment was deemed effective. His
nickname was "Black Jack".
- I started the Secondary Modern School in the "B"
stream but in my second year was promoted to the "A"
stream. The only position in the class I remember was having come
eighth in Br Bede's class "3A"
- I also remember having received a red star of
merit for having spelt the word "consonant" correctly,
unfortunately I don't remember the teacher. Needless to say I
have never forgotten that word!
- The earliest memory I have was at the age of five
in my very first class with Mrs Ellison and Miss Jennings as my
teachers. We were encourage to sleep with our arms crossed and
head on the desk for a while and if we did not raise ours heads
or give signs of being awake we were rewarded with a small cube
of ice to suck afterwards. Those were the days when fridges were
unknown to us and a cube of ice had the same value as a "gobstopper".
This practice also helped us to become well disciplined as I had
a very hard time pretending to be asleep and remaining perfectly
still for the duration of a whole lesson! I do not remember if
I ever won an ice cube!
Playground experiences: I remember having
jumped on Denis Price who happened to have his penknife open.
I still have the scar to remind me of that.
I was also involved in distributing the free milk.
I probably ended up drinking as much as I distributed!