The Past IS Different - DBH1 The Web Site 2021

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The Past IS Different

I was born in 1955 so that means I was going to kindergarten in 1958-9. My father worked in Birmingham and had to be at work for 9.00am. My mother also worked so it was always going to be good to get me to school as soon as possible. The problem was that the local kindergarten, in Lysways street in Walsall, didn't open until 9.00am.

Since you can't be in two places at once so my father developed his technique of ensuring my safety and his career simultaneously. It happened that the kindergarten was surrounded by a wall which was high enough to stop me escaping. So he would drive to the building for 8.00am, lift me over the wall and drive off again. An hour or so later the other people would turn up. And I thought this was normal.

The time came for me to go to infants. I can distinctly remember being taken to the infants school that all my friends were going to and being told to go away. I never figured why. I know it was some bureaucratic mix up. However I ended up going to a Methodist church infants school at the Scott arms about 3 or 4 miles from our house. The problem with my fathers career was the same and I was of course the first person there being dropped off at around 8.00am for the 9.00am start.When it was cold in the winter the staff used to take me into the staff room to thaw me out.

The start of the next academic year saw me being moved to another school, again I don't know why, perhaps it was because I wasn't a Methodist. This school was at a place called Pheasey, Collingwood Drive. I loved it. What's more because it near where my mother worked she could drop me off and at last I was normal.

There I was rising 6 and sometimes I had to make my way back home to Great Barr on my own. This involved either catching a bus to the Scott Arms and changing to one for Great Barr or walking about 5 miles down country lanes. I would choose which I wanted to do and just do it. And I thought this was normal.

At the end of my second academic year my parents decided to move house to Skip Lane a distance of about 5 miles. The old house was a semi-detached house and the new one was detached. It mean't I had to go to another new school. Chuckery. What a dump. To describe it as Dickensian would be a compliment. The toilets were outside and in winter the water in the toilet pans froze.

The food at lunch time was served in another outside building an asbestos hut. Mashed potato, indeterminate meat, soggy cabbage and asbestos dust. Yum.

I had been given a joke ring - the kind that you used to get in Christamas crackers. . There was a bulb which you filled with water and when some one looked at your nice ring you could squeeze the bulb and squirt them. Very infantile, but funny.

One lunch time I was enjoying my food when a dinner lady came near. I showed her the ring and squirted. Some how they didn't see the funny side. I was told to stand outside the headmasters study. I stood there for what seemed like for ever but was probably around half an hour. Mr Hibbs, the headmaster arrived. I bleated that "It was only a joke". Not impressed he got the tawse.

The tawse consisted of three leather belts. They were wound together at one end to form a handle and at the other they were separate. Each belt came to a point and had a metal end to it. I had to put my hand out and he brought this weapon down on my outstretched hand three times. I don't think I have ever been so terrified - it wasn't the pain it was the anticipation.

I was 8, this was 1963, the Beatles were in the charts! My parents decided that it would be good for me to go to Sunday school at the local church, St Martins. Looking back it was bizarre. They never went to church but I had to. So every Sunday morning I walked the couple of miles to the church went to the service on my own, went to Sunday school on my own, and then walked home. And I thought this was normal

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