Mrs C returned home on Monday to complain that her school had been flooded. Not by rain but by parents.
It had rained for several hours and by morning break an endless queue of children had driven the secretaries up the wall, demanding to be given permission to go home because they had 'got wet'. (Nobody had made them go outside, I hasten to add and it was perfectly warm and dry inside the school.)
When their demands were not met, many either stormed off the premises or phoned a parent who reacted with the usual outraged indignation, dropped whatever they were doing (whether daytime tv or employment) and drove up to school where they joined in the melee.
The sight of a fully grown (male) adult shrieking that they want to take 'their Jamie home right now' because 'his trousers are wet' is a sad one. Why has a whole part of our society become unable to cope with the slightest misfortune? Were such scenes common in the winter of 1963? The school was not underwater, all that had happened by this time was that some rain had fallen outside. The mobile phone however, enables a wildly exaggerated story to be conveyed to a parent stupid enough not to question it.
Did the Headmaster take a stand, tell all the parents where to go and send the kids back to class? I'll let you have a guess at that one.
However I wish I had been there to see Mrs. C helpfully suggesting to one dimwit that maybe they should make sure young Jamie is sent to school with a coat next time it rains.
Somehow I'm not surprised. As all the little darlings are unable to walk to school nowadays and have to get chauffeur driven everywhere I'm not surprised that a bit of water perturbs them. It's probably the first time they've ever got wet.
In my day it was a 3 mile cycle to school come rain or shine.
Isn't it amazing how they managed to keep their mobile phones dry but failed miserably at keeping their clothes dry. Parents nowadays really have not got a clue about dealing with such a 'crisis'. If that was my child on the phone (and it wouldn't be) the short reply from me to my child would amount to 'tough'.
At the risk of sounding like a plagiarised Python sketch...
When I was a lad I had to literally walk miles to and from my school in all weathers. Frequently the tops of my shorts would get damp if it rained, sometimes I would get more damp all over. I just went in damp and dried out during the morning.
We played football in the playground and were always scraping and cutting ourselves. If it bled excessively we would report to the teacher on duty for medical aid.
The worst of it all, from our point of view, at the time, was being forced to eat what school ‘dinner’ that I could not avoid eating by dropping it behind the radiator (we all did it). The mashed potato’s with the blue hairy lumps and the thick yellow leathery skin were one of our real hates, along with the cabbage that was a sort of green mush with what looked like bits of hemp string in it.
Shorts? Dinner? You were lucky!!!!
Primary school - had to walk cross-country mile and a half, up and down hill (Wales); then catch a bus another two and a half miles, then another 3/4 mile uphill. Short trousers. Reverse every evening (and an extra mile if my mother had given me a list of stuff to get from the village shop on the way - frequently.
Also had to be responsible for my younger sister on the same walk. Rain, snow or shine, still or windy, warm or cold (sometimes bitterly so) - every morning it was out that door at 07.30. Got wet? or cold? Had to warm up or dry out sitting at the desk. Never occurred to us to complain to a teacher; never occurred to any teacher to show us special consideration.
Occasionally - regardless of weather - on arriving home, I would be told to go back to that shop I mentioned and get something.
We didn't have mains water or drainage. It was my chore to go to the well for two buckets of water every day after school. If I was wet, or freezing cold - tough. Inevitably, the walk TO the well with two buckets that were empty and light was downhill; going back with them full and heavy - uphill (steep too).
Today's kids are spoiled rotten. The Spartans had the right idea about kids (I've said that here before ...)
Incidentally: now aged 54 I'm the same weight I was the day I enlisted at age 15. Go figure.
... and it was bloody pitch-black dark on the Winter mornings and evenings. No street lights out in the country - not even on the roads, never mind the cross-country bits.
And there was a ... gulp ... "haunted hill". Isn't there always? Used to be scared shitless (was only little, remember). Still had to walk it though.
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