Monday, 8 February 2016
My Memoirs1985 - Part Two
Cont'd... so David and I started school together; he as a five year old starting school for the first time and me as a 34 year old going back to work after an eleven year break. I suppose you could say we both found it a bit daunting. In fact he started a few days before me, setting off in a new uniform and with a new coat and lunchbox. I started in my only good suit but with some new court shoes. After all, we all need a new pair of shoes when we start back after the summer holidays, don't we!
The Head Mistress (now called Headteacher) was kindness itself to me. She introduced me to the outgoing Secretary who had been in post for 17 years and left me in her capable hands to learn the ropes.
The office was small but adequate with a wooden desk in the middle supporting an old Olympia typewriter. At least that was familiar because I had used one just like it in the past when I worked at Electrolux in 1968. There was an old, dark green filing cabinet next to the window and the walls were covered in class lists. It all felt strange but somehow cosy and I felt I would enjoy my short time there just so long as I could cope at home with looking after my four men, three sons and husband.
The children at the school were between five and seven years old - ages I was very familiar with. There were six classrooms, all with the names of colours - red, purple and silver were the oldest children, then came orange and green and finally pink for the 'babies'. Pink class started small and got bigger as the year went by and the two new intakes were admitted. One of my jobs was to keep up with the admissions. This was a time before computers so class lists were paramount and were constantly being updated by retyping because there was no other way of doing it then. Word processors were a godsend when they arrived a few years later and when, in 1989, I got the first computer, my job became much easier.
On Monday morning, I counted the dinner money. That came in in small packet, almost all cash. It had to be counted and bagged up properly. It was a bit of a challenge to do it all on my small desk, but without too many interruptions, it was possible to do it by coffee time. The school was quite noisy especially at playtimes and I had to learn to do my work with a cacophony of small voices in the background and constant phone calls and doorbells dinging.
The days passed quickly. By Christmas I was getting used to the new routine and managing to fit in my home routine around it. I found that by working an extra two hours each day (for no pay), I could collect my youngest from his school without having to go home first and then out again. So my days were full of a triangular walk -home to his school, then to my school. Then at three o'clock back to his school and then home again. There was a bit of a wait after I collected David, whilst I waited for Edward to come out of his school next door because they were in school for twenty minutes longer than the infants. So we got home about a quarter past four, then it was lunch box washing and sandwiches to be made for the next day and then the dinner to cook.
Life was busy.
Next time: The job is advertised.