That's Miss Readhead's class circa 1959. And there we all are squinting in the sunshine. I am the boy with the big head in the middle of the front row and somehow my younger brother Simon has managed to get himself in the picture too - even though he's only three years old and not in school yet. There are advantages to being one of the sons of a village headmaster who is also the school photographer.
I can still name a lot of those children. Behind me there's John Hugill, Richard Kilvington, John Whitehead and John Brocklebank but I can't remember the name of the boy in the middle. Sitting next to me is Jennifer Stevenson and at the end of my row is Derek Fisher. Susan Dean, the first girl I ever kissed, is on the back row third from the left and Michael Swan is standing next to Miss Readhead.
Every summer the school held a big internal sports day and children were allocated to four different "houses" - Trinity, Downing, Buckingham or Wembley which was always my house and was appropriately represented by the colour red.
Following our internal sports day, selections were then made for the school team which would go on to represent our village in The Holderness Village Schools Annual Sports Day.
Our village won in 1963. There I am on the back row right behind our house captain - Susan Dean who was also in the first picture. She was a few months older than me and was probably going on to secondary school that very year. I kissed her on the back row of a bus - travelling to Whitby for our annual school trip the year before. On reflection, I was probably batting out of my league. She had grown taller than me by then.
I remember my primary school years with great affection but as the years have passed many memories have faded away and some names are lost to me. It was a privilege to grow up in a happy, law-abiding rural community in the heart of East Yorkshire with children who were not just my classmates - they were my friends. We shared the same world and lived in the same time. Though mono-cultural, it helped to provide a splendid, solid foundation on which to build the rest of my life.
Oh god I've got the same kinds of photos. And just look at the size of those classes! Do you remember being given your milk ration for the day? Damn I'm getting old!ReplyDelete
I was the milk monitor Treaders so it was me who delivered the little bottles of milk! I remember blowing bubbles in those little bottles. Later "The Milk Snatcher" stole it all away.Delete
"Maggie Thatcher The Milk Snatcher."ReplyDelete
Please refrain from using coarse language Dave.Delete
Lovely photos to have. I don't seem to appear in any old school photos.ReplyDelete
You were probably playing truant.Delete
Wow. Your blog post not just eloquent, nay elegantly written, but so EVOCATIVE.ReplyDelete
I am glad you only mentioned primary school. Somewhat narrows down my own narrative. Is there anything better than lasting affection? Not least for those whose paths parted from ours a long time ago but linger in our memory?
"...those whose paths parted from ours a long time ago but linger in our memory" is a splendid way of describing those connections.Delete
Those pictures! And yes, as others have said- those were big classes! Your baby brother was adorable by the way.ReplyDelete
I think back to my own elementary school days and although there was some magic there, there was so much poverty and domestic abuse. My mother was a schoolteacher and although her salary was pitiful, we were still better off than most of the families. Which did not help when it came to issues that still affect me daily. But at least we had food!
You were a cheeky monkey, weren't you? Kissing the girls at such a young age. How did you pronounce "Readhead"?
REEDhead as in Steve REEDhead. By the way, there were less than twenty in Miss Readhead's class. The other picture was of the entire school sports team.Delete
I had spotted you in that first photo before I looked to confirm that I was right. :) Great pictures!ReplyDelete
You just had to spot the size of the head Jennifer - like Humpty Dumpty.Delete
I'm impressed at how much you DO remember. I could probably name only one or two people in my first grade picture! (If I had a first grade picture, which I don't. I have a kindergarten picture, though.) Like Ms. Moon, I'm wondering about the pronunciation of the teacher's name -- REDhead or REEDhead?ReplyDelete
REEDhead as in the head of someone who happened to be called REED.Delete
I too remember my classmates names. Frustrating since I forget the name of nearly every person I am introduced to.ReplyDelete
Great pics. I am a couple of years younger and live in the US so milk rations are foreign to me but I do remember blowing bubbles in the milk carton. Long forgotten until you jogged that bit of memory. Susan looks like she could be your baby sitter! I'd say you started off well.
Free milk for elementary school children in Britain was cancelled by Margaret Thatcher in 1971. That is why we often refer to her as The Milk Snatcher.Happy to have jogged some memories for you Linda. Babysitters make good kissers.Delete
Your memory is better than mine. I doubt I could name one child in a photo of my school class.ReplyDelete
I took a cough syrup in February to help me sleep, because I was coughing so much, and the random memories that came back to me were amazing. Didn't sleep much but the memories were intact and intense.
It's funny how I can recall many names from back then - sixty years ago but if I go back just five years nearly every name is forgotten.Delete
Wonderful pictures and a wonderful memory! It is special that you grew up with the same group of friends. I have pictures such as those but because we moved every two or three years none of the pictures have the same children and I do not remember the names. There is one exception - the first boy that ever kissed me back in second grade. His name was Tim. Yes, the 50's were a special time!ReplyDelete
Tim? Not Tom? That's shocking.Delete
Funnily enough an old school friend recently got in touch with me and we were trying to place names on an old school photo. Couldn't remember half of them. Funny how your school photo and mine look so similar. Ah the days of innocence.ReplyDelete
Those photos were of a time weren't they? Notice how some of the little boys in my top picture are wearing ties!Delete
It's interesting to go back and look at people you spent a great deal of time with. Where are they today? What are they today?ReplyDelete
A few of them are still there in the village - now getting old like me.Delete
What a lots of Johns in your class!! People in those days didn't go in for " fancy" names did they? My husband is Peter and his twin bro is John. Their Dad was Clifford, a name that he disliked apparently so purposely named his boys with more well known names.I am actually Susan...also a common name of the time. I have several photos of my infant and junior school classes.ReplyDelete
You are right. The names that were chosen back then were conservative. I guess that my name was more "way out" than most and it's only Neil.Delete