And we’re back! In my first sessions in Derbyshire hospitals last week, we looked at memories of school, talking about school uniforms, playground games, school dinners and learning to read and do sums. We even got to ring an old a school bell.
Some patients had grown up in the countryside, and had missed out on a lot of school due to having to help out on the family farm. Some patients had been teachers, and could look back on their career as well as their school days.
Different wards, in Cavendish and Newholme hospitals, wrote the verses of this poem.
I used to have to milk the cows before I went to school
I always got the cane because I always played the fool.
We had to learn our letters and do our tricky sums,
Praying that our home time would soon come.
Smart in our school uniforms, wearing our caps.
In assembly, we’d sit so still, our hands in our laps.
‘All things bright and beautiful’ we sang off by heart.
A rousing way for the school day to start.
The boys played marbles, conkers and football
While girls played hopscotch, skipping and netball.
A is for apple, and B is for ball
Practised times tables to chant in the hall.
Looking back on school days as pupil and teacher
Making the classroom bright and cheerful was a main feature.
The photographer’s coming, so the kids pull their socks up,
Tie their shoelaces, comb their hair and get rid of the muck.
Make sure you’ve got two pencils with points on
Teacher will expect your tie to be kept on.
Ink-stained shirts from fountain pens.
A cracking sound as my desk lid opens.
Sliding on our stocking feet on shiny polished floors
Bottled milk for morning break – we’d suck it through our straws
In freezing weather, milk would freeze and icicles would grow.
Walking home two-by-two in a neat and tidy row.