I was saddened to read the blogs of boys that had such an unhappy experience of days as a boarder. I was there from 1951 until 1957 and whilst I also remember the less than idyllic food and discipline, I tend to believe that was a reflection of the societal norms of the immediate post-war period. Are we in danger of making judgements based on our expectations of 50 years on?
My 'mentor'was Sister Anne who, like other bloggers, I revisited in the late 1980s on the way back from a holiday in France when the place was an old people's home (I probably should call it a Mature Citizens Haven to match the political correctness of these days). My recollection was that she was kind to me yet kept me on the 'straight and narrow' which I believe shaped my whole subsequent life in making me confident and self reliant. This doesn't seem to be too bad a value system to have instilled in us.
Some of you from those early 1950s may remember that my dad made a slide for the school which, in addition to bringing a little happiness to other boarders, may, with the benefit of hindsight, have earned me a few Brownie points with the nuns - something few of us are blessed with at the age of six or seven.
Life is in reality a series of perceptions rather than absolutes and certainly my overall recollection was that, given we were all sent from our home by our parents and not the nuns, the experience was fitting to the circumstances we lived in at the time. I was expelled from the Convent a term before I was due to leave anyway because I went on a night-time adventure of absconding from the school with two other boys - anyone remember who? - which the nuns obviously considered was a slight on them. I then went on to another boarding school at Reading until I left school.
May I wish you all a content future and hope those of you that were obviously so unhappy did not find your subsequent life was too blighted and that you found love and affection elsewhere.
Frank (Frankie) Sharp, Number 55
A memory shared byon Dec 22nd, 2008.
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