Miss Purdy would take a few of us girls to her home, to show us how tea should be taken.
I went to Linskill Girls School, starting in 1952 until 1956. In those days the boys were kept separate. I was in Miss Crighton’s class in the first year and after that my hero was Miss Purdy. She used to take a few of us girls to her home to show us how tea should be taken. Miss Purdy had spent a year in the U.S.A. as an exchange teacher and came back with a decidedly American accent. She was a wonderful teacher. We spent more time talking about the U.S.A. than anything else even though she was supposed to be teaching us music. By the way I now live in the U.S.A.
Linskill was a decent school. The headmistress was Mrs Patterson, who used to walk around the school in her black gown. Miss Page was the library teacher and she once asked the class how someone died. I put my hand up and said, “He died from want of breath.” I got into trouble for that remark. The teachers tried their best to instil some sort of education into us girls but they really didn’t push too hard.
One teacher, Miss Taylor, was a real tyrant; she would lock us in the classroom while she went to teachers’ meetings. One time Marjorie Sharp wrote on the blackboard while we were locked in and when the teacher came back and let us out, we ran. Miss Taylor screamed for us to come back, she caught one girl, Edith, and in anger lashed her legs with the blackboard stick. Next day, Edith’s Mam came to the school and showed the headmistress Edith’s legs which were covered in welts. Miss Taylor never came back.
There were four of us in a group, who tried to do everything together: Margaret, Ann, Audrey and me. Ann was the only one of us who wore a bra and she was very popular with the boys. I often wonder where they all are now.
When it was time to leave school, I remember a councillor coming to talk with the fourth year students. She told us plainly that we couldn’t expect to amount to much, marriage was about all we might expect. Well she was wrong. I am a published poet and an artist, painting in oils. I have travelled the world many times, and I married and have three wonderful children. I have made a success of my life in spite of that woman, and because of the guidance from my teachers at Linskill Girls School. I know that some of my school mates also made a success of their lives, and my brother who attended Linskill Boys School has his own successful business.