Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Senior Public or Middle School
We were introduced to a class rotation system with a different teacher for each subject; this was a new venture for the education system in our town. Our calendar included fourteen subjects….chemistry, natural science, science, French, literature, grammar, music! And on the list continued. Students came from all the public schools in town, into one melting pot.
Two years of discovery! Academically they were good years, very exciting subjects; with one fly in the ointment. English history used to put me to sleep….literally I would nod off to be awakened by a ruler being snapped next to my dozing brain. The teacher called me ‘lazy’ in front of the whole class! Well, I’d just show her…..I earned a 100%+ as a final grade in the subject.
Grade 7 was my first introduction to a black person. We had never, ever seen a black person in our town and rarely in movies. Remember television had not reached our neck of the woods yet. He was Oxford educated and a very fine looking gentleman. The entire school population loved the man, he was an excellent educator and a judicious person! It was also my introduction to young girls and young boys growing up and becoming aware of one another....first crushes, girls flirting, boys strutting! No one strutted by me....except for Eugene!
A turning point in social status. One's position, one's acceptance became important and in this regard I was a social failure. More siblings at home and money harder to stretch. I wore a hand-me-down coat from one of mother’s friends…..a coat purchased in wartime England- warm and tweedy! Nothing wrong with a warm and tweedy coat, right! Wrong! I wore dated clothing, none of the 'new' fashions...wore what fit....refused to wear hand-me-downs so always wore the same clothes. I felt such a wretch and would time my arrival at the final bell so no one could see my coat! Definitely an outcast; was not allowed to wear lipgloss like some of the girls, was not allowed to attend parties, not that I was invited. And Eugene! Oh dear, Eugene!. He became my shadow, he always made sure he sat next to me in class, would meet me on the way to and from school. This was so annoying because he was as much a social outcast as I …. Worse in fact, extremely overweight, foggy glasses and a runny nose. But then, I had a runny nose also….we must have both been a sight to avoid! I refused to brush my hair…hoping to dissuade Eugene but he remained a constant I would run knowing he could not keep up,…he remained a shadow....I was rude....he remained! Wonder whatever happened to Eugene!
Everyone was treated equally throughout the two school years; no favourites because of family influence or position in town, right up to and including grade 8 graduation. All girls made blue skirts, cut from the same bolt of cloth in sewing class. These were worn with white blouses for graduation exercises; the boys wore best trousers and white shirts….and we felt equal and proud! No parties, no dances, no limousines such as we see today for grade 8 graduations today. Just parents in attendance, tea, coffee and home baked goodies!
Another change took place in my life - I decided I could do something about my coat and threatened to leave home if my parents would not allow me to get a job and earn my own money. An elder in our church had the solution telling mother a few days tagging articles in the basement of the retail Metropolitan Stores would make me thankful to be home and not working. Mother had to sign a paper allowing me to work because I wasn’t quite 14 at the time. Loved the job and stayed part time until I left school in high school.
The photo with this blog is of my in Grade 7, I had cut my waist length hair and refused to brush it....ever!
Lots of memories from this period!