Memories of a Classmate of '55, Prompted by 50th Anniversary Reunion of Entry Class of 1955.
The organisers of the Reunion were: Yvonne Dumsday, Sheila Ratcliffe, Freda Pickles, Margaret Irving and Derek Howorth.
At Roomfield, Pa Willy first mentioned An important test was heading our way That would probably determine the future Of all those who listened that day I'm glad to say that the two photographs Which are currently resting on my knee Confirm that almost half of the Roomfield class Went on to Tod Grammar at Ferney Lee My first day didn't pass without incident I was told that my clogs wouldn't do: They would play havoc with the wooden flooring So would I kindly change into shoes We were poor, so my mum made all my clothes Shirts, trousers and sports gear specially for me: To save material, I was still in short trousers Even when I was sixteen and a full six feet three! Let's start with a few notes on the teachers They are inevitably personal, it's true Doubtless classmates will have a different perspective With an entirely opposite view The Headmaster was one Albert Greenhough A Chemist, whose nickname was Crun: Of teaching it seemed that he'd had enough Because he left most of that to Barry Lunn Jimmy Large was the Senior Master A well-organised Maths Teacher was he: With his fortnightly tests, avoiding disaster Meant working most diligently The discipline he'd gained in his youth He strived to pass on to his charges: It is an indisputable truth; Today's schools need a few Jimmy Larges! The Senior Mistress was dear Miss Cottam Whose main subject was British History: In her class she encouraged debating Which was enjoyed by argumentative me From one's Schooldays one has few vivid memories But, for me, one that still lingers on Is our first lesson with the new Latin Master Known as Ego: alias Peter Durham He passed round a new Latin textbook And said Leeder, would you please translate. The rest of us panicked as we took a quick look At a text that had every one of us beat Though Ego had such a commanding presence He used humour to help him get through And so his lessons became an experience That we all began to look forward to Raspberry Jam Jam and Iambic Pentameter Are phrases that Ego would often repeat But then he'd talk of listening to great Opera In the Gods at Covent Garden, replete Miss Maw was a fine English Mistress Who illuminated many a Shakespearean play And interpreted texts that might cause distress Her love for English Literature remains with me today At woodwork my performance was rather sad I could only hope that Sid didn't know That I had a skilled carpenter for a dad Sid's report was always Inaccurate and Slow I can't finish without mentioning Fred Davey Who helped me start my career in Science: Thanks to him I lectured at a University As a result of his support and appliance In the O-level French exam I fell ill And Fred Davey, who was such a very nice man Took me home, but on the bottom corner of the hill I poured my guts out, all over his van Now the very best things in life are the people And the social events of the day: Our school was full of such characters Who made it easy to enjoy work and play The girls were all seated together On the opposite side of the room: To help reduce the scope for horseplay And to damp down the boys' va va voom The girls' playground was the School tennis courts And that's where they played netball too: Many a boy's nose got stuck in the wire netting In trying to get the very best view In their tunics and knickers of bottle green And with some lovely legs on full show: No wonder we boys couldn't resist this scene And attention, to our own skills, was low So our football team was not very dashing Its best achievement was to draw one-one Against a team that previously gave us a thrashing By the margin of eight goals to one Our Centre Vale pitch was always a mudbath And the leather ball became completely soaked through: We used to dread being required to head it Nor could we kick it more than a yard or two Brave headers were often required of us And I wouldn't tell my readers any lies: These caused the loss of so many brain cells They cost the School its third Nobel Prize For the Danes I played football and cricket (and also for the school teams) And tennis with a young Miss Gledhill: (Jacqueline, much better than J Hunter Donne.) What of the famous moth-eaten yellow jersey? (Her tennis wasn't bad, either!) Well folks, it hangs in my garage, still (We won the School Doubles Tennis Trophy) At school, nicknames were commonplace And they all seemed to add to the fun: Mine was Dobus, which is quite obvious But how on earth did the Head become Crun? That's the end of my recollections But you're welcome to add your own verse: I'll add a few lines in conclusion But I'll try to keep to a few words We've always known that the broad education Which we gained at the Tod Grammar School Was as good as most found in this nation And through life it's been our best tool But it's 50 years since we were all together Such a lot has happened since then: Still, all of us are now much better-looking Please repeat this, again and again Our Class has a lot of achievement As we surely must all recognise: We owe a lot to our old alma mater Even if no-one gained a Nobel Prize We, whose parents all worked in factories, Were given the very best of all starts: Good education made the best of our ability To a standard no Comprehensive imparts Don't fix what ain't broke is a good rule: To provide education that's excellent and free: I recommend that we bring back the Grammar Schools Especially that in Todmorden at old Ferney Lee It is important to say a big thank you To Yvonne for achieving her grand aim: Her team has done a great job in uniting The class of '55 once again So Yvonne, Sheila, Freda, Margaret and Derek Thanks to you, it's all been such great fun: So this is Dobus, a former Sub-Prefect Signing off with a hearty WELL DONE!!
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