It was a different world in those days

Thinking back to junior school (and possibly high school), when we were up to mischief we would pick a person to “keep cave” – that is, be the look-out. If danger, in the form of a teacher or matron was seen approaching, the look-out would call, “Chips!” and with a bit of luck we would make our get away before the authority arrived.

What dreadful mischief we were up to would probably be something like climbing trees, breaking bounds, attempting to use the secretary’s telephone to call home – along those lines. In today’s world these pranks seem insignificant but the repercussions in my day (1950s) could be awful.

This photo taken when I was about 7 years old was, I think, leaving home for my first day at boarding school. I think I cried for weeks before that day and for weeks after I arrived at school.


The winter uniform consisted of a blouse (not a shirt), a bodice that buttoned on to a thick woollen skirt, bloomers, blazer, hat, shoes and socks. Trying to button the bodice on to the skirt was a difficult task for small fingers. Summer uniform was a cotton dress with a sash. Sunday uniform was different again. All of these clothes were packed in a large trunk at home – following the ‘clothes-list’ very carefully. Only three ‘casual’ dresses were allowed. We unpacked our clothes at school and the trunks disappeared into the attic or box-room to reappear at the end of term to be repacked and taken home.

In the photo I can see a likeness to my youngest grand daughter! Same unruly hair and fairly defiant look behind the sadness.She is a much kinder and more gentle child than I was. I can remember my mum trying to do my hair. I would hide under the bed and she would have to poke me out with a broom – and then catch me as I ran away.

Running away was a feature of my childhood. I used to do so fairly regularly. I’m not sure why. I would go to my granny’s house; it was quite a long way through the farm. I’d tell her that my mum had sent me. Other times I’d hide in the huge granite boulders that surrounded the house and wait to see if anyone came to look for me. It was a different world in those days.

It was a different world in those days

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