MY FIRST DAY AT WRINGTON SCHOOL (1944)
I remember walking in trepidation, hand tightly clasped in my mother's. The
road leading to the school seemed endless. When would we arrive?
At last the gable topped building came into view. We made our way to the
Headmaster's room, past children looking like giants, noisy boys in big
boots, girls chanting the latest skipping rhyme. Mr Waite, the Headmaster,
smiled benignly. I smiled back, gappy toothed. Questions were asked - Has
she had measles and mumps? Can she count to ten? Is she house-trained? (or
words to that effect).
The preliminaries over we proceeded to the Infants Class. I don't remember
my mother's departure. I remember sitting with other children around a huge
table (everything appeared huge to a small four year old). A boy with
sticking up hair kicked me under the table, and I stoically pretended not to
Miss Kingcott the teacher briskly emptied out a large box of coloured bricks in interesting shapes and we were told to divide them equally between us. I wasn't quite quick enough and ended up with one boring, brown rectangle.
Soon the bell rang and I thought "Good, I can go home now", but my hopes
were soon dashed when I realised there were more lessons to come. Little
bottles of milk were distributed. I'd never seen milk in a bottle before. We
had always collected our daily supply from Mr Collins, the nearby farmer.
Carrying it in jugs we were careful to avoid spillage. Woe betide us if we
reached home without the full quota.
Back in the classroom my neighbour, a little girl with yellow ribbons in her
hair, and I started making bubbles through our straws. Severely reprimanded
I hung my head in shame.
Miss Kingcott then asked if any of the new children could write their name.
I proudly shot up my hand, remembering that my father had taught me to write Marion in block capitals, and I had subsequently realised that the jar of
marmite on the tea table began with the same three letters.
So I painstakingly copied it out and memorised it. The result was that when Miss Kingcott handed me some paper I immediately obeyed and wrote Marion Marmite.
The remainder of the day is lost in time except that, from the safety of my
bed that night, I wondered if I really had to go back the following day.
Marion Dutfield (née Croucher)