Trevor Wedlake's Writings
Vera Perry - on her retirement from the Journal
Trevor wrote this piece when Vera retired from the Village Journal, November, 2007
|Change: Not Decay
Writing in The Guardian some years ago, Kathleen Gooding described how, when her family lived in a village in Somerset, there was engrained in the family the philosophy that every member had to have a target, a special goal to set him/herself for the dark winter months. It could be a patchwork quilt, Italic hand, War & Peace, five flats on the piano something, some kind of harvest to hold up to the others when Spring returned.
They couldn’t have been living in Wrington where there is always so much going on, from football to Fauré, that the family would never have been thrown back so much on its own resources. One Wringtonian busy, not only in winter but in all seasons, is Miss Vera Perry. One of the unsung, unglamorous tasks she has performed for the past 28 years is co-ordinating the distribution and collecting the subs for this Journal. And now she is giving it up.
Vera has decided to hand this over, not to ‘spend more time with her family’, but because she feels it would ensure a smooth transfer. The Journal was begun in 1971, the Revd & Mrs Christopher Lawson-Tancred being the main instigators of it. It had 16 pages then, and cost 5p; now 32 pages and 50p. About 1,000 copies are printed each month and there are 36 volunteer distributors. A number of copies are posted to ex-villagers. Mrs Clare Sykes will take over from Vera this month.
For all VeraJournal Committee are exceedingly grateful, and thank her very much indeed.
Although Vera has left the teaching profession longer than some members spend in it, she has never lost that calm aura of authority and command teachers inherited in those distant days before pocket calculators existed, when dyslexia was not allowed. One learned over many years that to get caught in Vera’s radar was to be given a task:
“You’re a strong man, aren’t you ?” “Well, I’m not particularly …” “Please take this table and chairs to the Reading Room”; or, “You’re a musical person, aren’t you ?” “Oh, well, I admit to a certain addiction to …” “Well, please come and move the piano, I’m in rather a hurry.”
With luck and a fair wind, all this will continue. Helpers and volunteers may still come to Vera for information, advice and direction. To her they may confess their little sins of omission or commission, and from her quiet smile or air of weary resignation, may well know whether they have been remitted unto them … or whether they have been retained.