Standing Up For Fornethy - a Memory of Fornethy Residential School.
I have been reading lots of accounts of how bad Fornethy was, of beatings, and abuse, but I didn't experience any of that. I was there twice, including for my 11th birthday in May 1970. I have a letter I sent home which is very obvious to me in my own words.
One thing I had forgotten was the crow in the cage. It was explained to us that the farmer trapped crows to stop them killing lambs. I remember being amazed that when we were all walking along lanes, that drivers would wave to us all. It wasn't like that in Glasgow!
There was a tuck shop where you could buy sweets etc., I think just once a week, but certainly not every day. They kept a book with a log of how much money you had so that you didn't spend it all at once - so the more you had, the more you could spend each time.
I was in Reekie Linn dorm the first time and then Forter the second. They were next door to each other. If a girl was known to be a bedwetter, their chair at the bottom of the bed was turned 90 degrees and then the staff would wake them at some point in the night to take them to the toilet to avoid the wetting. I was never aware of any girl being beaten or even shouted at for having an accident.
I think we had weekly baths, again certainly not daily. The staff ladies would help with bathing. I'm not sure if we all had clean water or not, but in the tenements virtually no one even had a bath, other than the tin one brought out and shared by all, so not having fresh water for everyone wasn't anything too unusual or to be thought about at the time.
After walks we would come in the back door into the long cloakroom area to change from wellies into sandshoes for indoor wear. We always had sing-songs there and I especially remember the tall elegant lady, who I'm pretty sure was Miss/Mrs Fletcher, singing with us. I loved it. I remember playing out in the garden/lawn and picking daisies to make daisy chains.
On Saturday nights we had film night which was a real treat. I still remember a couple of the films. There were plastic cups in there for our drink of milk.
When you had a letter arrive you went up to the library. Several girls at a time got to sit in the sumptuous sofas and then were given the letters. It was such luxury to me.
We were issued, weekly, a sort of flowery pinafore to wear, and some patterns were definitely more sought after than others. We collected them from a huge linen cupboard.
The bathrooms were downstairs from Reekie Lynn and Forter and we had to go there to brush teeth at night. I remember the red toothpaste in a tin. Since I never even had a toothbrush at home, this was all new to me at first. I loved the routines and tried to carry then on when I got back home - like making my bed every morning.
My memories of the dining room are very hazy. I think we were served at the table. We were taught how to use a knife and fork correctly. At home we never even sat at a table together to eat. I have no bad memories of mealtimes.
Girls went on rolling weeks so there were always new ones. The old hands were never terribly nice to new ones, but only for a day or so. When I was there I remember 3 sisters, the oldest was Agnes and I adored her. She was more developed than anyone else and so was allowed to have her bath on her own. Their dad was ill and couldn't have them back home at the end of their 4 weeks so they got to stay on. I remember being very jealous. I named my doll Agnes.
When I went to secondary (Woodside) I met a girl who had been in Forter dorm with me - Charlotte McLay. Other than her I knew no one else before or after Fornethy. My sisters, Kay and Rose, went as well but not at the same time as me.
I hope that there are many other girls who have good memories. I have just spoken to Kay and her only bad memory is of being made to eat macaroni cheese once a week. Other than that, she loved the whole experience too.
Marjorie South (was Proffitt)
A memory shared by on Jun 25th, 2021. Send Marjorie South a message
Tips & Ideas
Not sure what to write? It's easy - just think of an important place in your life and ask yourself:
How does it feature in your personal history?
What are your best memories of this place?
How has it changed over the years?
How does it feel, seeing these places again?
Do you remember stories about the community, its history and people?
This week's Places
Here are some of the places people are talking about in our Share Your Memories community this week:
...and hundreds more! Enjoy browsing more recent contributions now.