When recalling our school days we are filled with a variety of emotions. Some memories bring hilarity, some bring anger. Some bring sadness and others happiness.
Here are some of my recollections.
The most exciting thing for me in going to secondary school was knowing that I would be able to learn a foreign language. I was absolutely fascinated (not having been abroad) to think you could talk to someone in a different language. German wasn't on our timetable the first day so I eagerly collared someone from another first-year class to ask what they had learnt in their German lesson. "We learnt that der Federhalter is German for pen", was their reply. I was gutted. I was hoping I would be half fluent in the subject by the end of the first week. Mr Armitage was an interesting character. He seemed ancient to us, sitting on the desktop with his very wrinkly face, strange almost stuttering way of speaking and of course, reeking of cigarettes.
Later came Taffy with his lilting Welsh tones and finally Mr Halliwell, who insisted that "I" in German was pronounced Ick and not Ish, as we had previously been led to believe.
Mr Halliwell was one of my favourite teachers. He was kind and fair and encouraging. I wanted to study German at A level but I was the only one in my year who wanted to do it and I was told I would have to go to another school if I insisted. I didn't but I was very disappointed. I did geography instead. This was stupid as I had dropped geography in my GCE year but I had no choice.
Not my favourite subject as you will have gathered from the above. What can you say about Jap? Some days a barrel of laughs but catch him on a bad day and you were in real trouble! You had to gauge the mood very carefully the minute you walked into the room. The most memorable time with Jap was the field trip to Snowdonia in the 6th form. My mum, bless her, had bought me new shoes especially for the occasion. I think we got a train into Wales and when we got off we asked Jap where the Youth Hostel was.
" 7 miles away ", he replied.
"How do we get there?" was the next query.
"You're walking. I'm off. See you there," he said and with that he strode off, leaving us flabbergasted.
"No chance we are walking 7 miles", we all agreed.
We stuck out our thumbs and managed to get a lift straight there, passing Jap on the way. We gave him a cheery wave and grin.
He got his own back a few days later. We had managed to get to the summit of Snowden and then of course we had to get down.
"That's the way," he said, pointing to a very steep slope of shale. "Scramble your way down that lot. I'll see you later".
No other way but to follow him painfully, sliding on sides and bottoms to the very base of the mountain!
Besides this, my lovely new shoes were giving me hell. I had a mass of terrible blisters. No sympathy from Jap. He just thought it was stupid to have new shoes. But that's what mums did if you were going away, wasn't it?
Did Mrs MacPartland wear a wig or did she just have wierd hair? That was the most burning question in history lessons. Never mind The French Revolution or The Wars of Independence, the real issue was "the hair". We never did find out.
Mr Lamb seemed to flit around the classroom with great speed and energy. It was nice to have a young enthusiastic teacher. I remember lessons with Mr Healey as well and particulary the incident on mensuration, which I wouldn't have mentioned if Merry hadn't also recalled it. I think he knew he was in for it the moment he opened his mouth as he said the word very timidly and with trepidation. What was mensuration anyway? Anybody remember?
I thought it was very romantic that he and the PE teacher were an item.
I loved games and PE but wasn't so keen on doing it in the rain! When I pointed out to Mrs Healey one day that it was raining and maybe we shouldn't be going out for games she replied, "Nonsense! You're so skinny you could dodge the raindrops."
I thought that was quite funny considering she was probably the skinniest person I had ever met!
I played hockey for the school and I remember one incident when we were playing an away game against a very good team from a girls' school. They were slaughtering us and Mrs Healey was running up and down the field trying to encourage us. I was determined to try to get a goal and kept streaking ahead. The PE teacher from the opposing school kept blowing her whistle furiously and shouting "Offside!" at me.
After several minutes of this she came bounding over to me and said "Do you know what offside means?".
"No," I said in all honesty. I must have been absent when they did the offside rule.
Mrs Healy was mortified and blushed. I then got a quick briefing on the offside rule and it all fell into place. I never forgot after that.
I couldn't read 'Merry Quips' and not add my own feelings about Mrs Hines. The reason we all gave her a hard time is because a 2nd year told us she was fair game.
It was probably the first time any of us had had an opportunity to tease a teacher and get away with it. In hindsite it was rotten, though hilarious at the time. We would read around the class in the wrong order so she never knew where the voices would be coming from. We would move our desks forward when she turned her back on us and of course I remember the mouse incident and Heather Sheridan shrieking at the top of her voice when "the mouse" apparently appeared. I felt really bad years later when I heard she had died of breast cancer.
I forget the name of her replacement (see Mrs Collins, 'Staff at HTHS' by Mike Russell) but she was small, chubby, foreign had big teeth and wore very bright lipstick. She brought new meaning into our RE lessons when she started teaching Alternative Religion and spoke of men walking in processions carrying strange plants that were "Phallic Symbols." We were agog and were very keen to join her Christian Group. We never did get to meet any of these strange men, however!
Dear little Miss Jones. What a sweetheart she was. I remember her falling over in class once and we all wanted to help her. She got herself up, dusted herself down and assured us she was quite alright. I was very grateful that she taught us all needlework. Later generations of girls never learnt and can't sew a button on to save their lives.
Miss Green could be quite formidable and I was frightened of her early on. I remember her asking me in what order you would wash dishes.
Well in our house my brother and I did most of the washing up and there was no particular order. We very rarely used glasses. Anyway, I thought glasses - hot water - not a good idea. So I said "Well I would do the glasses last."
"What!" she replied in contempt. Everybody sniggered.
"No. You do the glasses first in the cleanest water".
I liked cookery but I could never finish on time, particularly the washing up. Maybe it was all that worrying that I wasn't doing it in the right order!
We were all very surprised when Miss Green announced that she had a young man and was going to get married. We thought she was far too old for that. How old was she, by the way?.
Mrs Hobson was more understanding and was a bit more tolerant. She was more like a farmer's wife with lovely red cheeks and a cheerful smile.
Mr Kerrigan sure earned his name Killer. I think we were all in awe of him but he could be funny as well. Two things I recall from my time with him were,
"What colour is it? It's plue" after the litmus paper test.
The other was us taking notes at rapid speed and him saying "As you were," if he'd made a mistake and wanted you to rewrite something. Funny the things you remember.
We also had Mr Townley and were so sad when he became very ill. He was a lovely teacher too and made chemistry a bit easier to understand.
Another 'not my favourite subject'. The only thing that left me wondering after physics lessons was " Is Mr Vaughan taking Miss Moorhouse home tonight?"
One of my favourite subjects but often blighted by the above mentioned Minnie Moorhouse. She must go down as one of the worst teachers I have ever encountered. Nothing very nurturing about her!
She knew her subject but I don't know why she was so vicious at times. Was she jealous of us young girls I wonder?
One particular incident stands out in my memory. We had been asked to write an essay about an Apartment Store. "Not a very inspiring subject," I hear you say. I agree but I did sit at home and give it a lot of thought and wrote what I thought was a good essay. Miss Moorhouse thought otherwise. In fact she was so sure that my work was a piece of complete rubbish that a few days later she read it out in front of whole class and then flung it down in front of me and said it was a load of tosh. You can imagine how humiliated I was. It was the end of the lesson and everyone filed out of the classroom in silence, some looking my way. I lifted the lid of my desk and wept behind it. Somebody came up to me and said "I don't know why she did that. I thought it was a great essay."
If only teachers knew what incredible damage they can do.
Some time later my essay book was lying around at home and a friend of my brother's (a lad from college who was staying with us) picked it up and started reading my work. After he had read that particular essay he said to me,"I can't believe this. Why did your teacher give you 3 out of 10 for this work. It's fantastic. If you had done this at college it would have scored 9."
I told him what she had done and he was horrified.
Another example of her nastiness was after I had had an interview for Bingley College. We were in the 6th form room upstairs and she wanted to know what questions I had been asked so that the other girls who had yet to have interviews would have an idea.
I would tell her the question and she would ask me how I had answered. Nearly every time she criticised my answers and told me what I should have said."Why did you say that?" she kept asking.
"Because it is the truth," I replied.
I got into college despite her, so I must have done something right.
We also had a lovely student teacher who was later employed by the school. I got on well with her as she liked my work and always had a giggle when she asked me to read things I had written.
Then we had Mr Wright and what a joy! He was great and helped us so much with our work. He practically did our essays for us in 6th form. He was an older man but I was in love with him. I thought him very handsome with a captivating smile.
I always wanted to be good at art but I was useless. Stringy Joe used to pick his nose, I remember.
We had some brilliant artists in our class. Pam Harding was one and Linda Hairsine was another. I sat behind Linda and was always in awe of her fantastic ideas and skill in painting.
We once had the title 'Men at work' to play around with. I drew a few spindly men digging up a road. It was awful.
I was keeping a keen eye on Linda. She painted a man having a rest in a little wooden shelter! What inspiration. Needless to say when he pinned them up on his wall for crit. time, like he did, hers was right at the top and mine near the bottom. I didn't mind because he always found something nice to say about everybody's work, no-matter how bad it was.
Mrs Healey again. Do kids still sing Cherry Ripe and The Trout?
I never got to learn an instrument when I was younger for, as Merry pointed out, we were all poor in those days, my mum working in the mill and all that. When Mrs Healey said we were going to learn to play a recorder, I had in my mind a piano accordian and wondered how she could possibly fit all those in the cupboard she was about to open, never mind coping with all of us pulling and pushing the things for the next half hour or so.Imagine my disappointment when the recorders came out. I was gutted (again).
In my first year we had a concert at Christmas. Mr Halliwell asked for volunteers to do a piece on the stage. I said I would sing 'Getting to know you', as I had been to see 'The King and I' with my mum and had a good cry. I had a few practices with him accompanying on the piano. He was very encouraging and was sure I would hit the high notes on the day! I remember being petrified and wondering what the heck I was doing as I stood in the wings waiting to go on. I got through it and don't remember if I hit the high notes. I was just glad it was all over.
But never daunted, the next year I persuaded a group of girls to join me for a second dose. This time I wrote my own school version of 'The Christmas Alphabet'.
We showed it to some of the staff and they thought it was a bit of a giggle. We practised in the little cubby hole where they stored the milk bottle tops, so it was very smelly. We had fun doing it and it set me on a path of writing comedy in the years to come.
Another incident I remember was Miss Moorhouse making a girl (Gill Gill) take off her stiff, net underskirt in the corrider in front of passing pupils! That went round the girls in a flash. We were forbidden to wear them and that was the punishment. I don't think anyone dared after that.
As a tribute to Mrs Parky I would also like to add a word about her.
I always praise my school dinners at HTHS whenever the subject comes up in conversations. I can never understand why most people grimace at the mention of them.
I remember in 5th form (I think), she came up behind me, squeezed my calves and said "My school dinners are certainly shaping you up nicely!" (or words to that effect). Glad she wasn't wearing a pointy hat and riding a broomstick.
And lastly, Holidays with School. Like Merry, I went to The Isle of Wight in the first year. Unlike her I had been to the seaside as my granny lived in Blackpool, so I was used to exotic places!
I remember playing in the sand too. We had been in the slot machine arcade and were fed up with a particular machine, the one that had a crane arm that lifted a prize, only to drop it however careful you were. We never won anything. So we had our own version where our hand was the crane and we would bury stuff in the sand. One of us would pretent to work a handle and the 'arm' would rise up and you just never knew if the arm would drop a present in front of you or disappoint you by dropping it too soon just as in the arcade. You can only imagine how very funny this was and very cheap as well. I guess you just had to be there.
In 6th form we went skiing in Switzerland. That was fantastic. We did a few days practising and then Mr Taylor took a few of us up the mountain. When we reached the top it was really misty and scary. We asked him what we should do.
"Just ski down", he said, matter-of factly. So we did! God knows how we did it.
Looking back it makes you wonder how we survived it all. It helped to make us the people we are.
Tales from the new Forrest
Maggie in Giverney
Celia Partington is the one on the sledge in green anorak. Not sure about the rest of them but the cheeky chappy on steps to the right with the bobble hat I think was from our party.
The photo below shows a few kids from our school party outside the tearoom.
The girl in the white coat is Marion O'Sullivan. Next to her is Sue Fletcher and then Celia again. The lad on the sledge is Roy Rainford.