Polished floors and strict discipline
I joined Lourdes Convent in 1965; I was nine years old and not a Catholic. I felt like a fish out of water. I was put into Mother Elizabeth’s class and have her to thank for my French style handwriting. I remember Miss Lamb and Mrs Tobin’s Irish dancing and taking elocution lessons. One term we had a Japanese nun visit who brought a wind up baby doll to raffle. I bought a ticket and to my delight and amazement won.
Warming teacher’s cushion
The main memories I have of the school are of highly polished floors, constant demands for donations, bells, prayers, a repressive atmosphere and strict discipline. My friends included the sadly late Deborah Carter, Judy Rawlinson, Francine Parsons, Edita, Isa Nagle, Vivienne Lynn, Jill Stein, Suzanne Ryder, Georgina from Hurstpierpoint, and Helen Blatt. The strictest teacher was Miss Hamilton, an Anglo-Indian I believe, who insisted that I warmed up a cushion for her on the radiator before class. Imagine our class delight when we were informed she was to be our form teacher for the second year running.
Cleaning the classrooms
Mother Imelda always got my name wrong and called me Rosslyn for an entire year. My favourite teacher was Madame Tomlyn? An impossibly young and trendy French teacher who introduced us to Jacques Prevert. It was our duty to clean the classrooms, on a rota basis. I loved Mrs Bingham and it was to her I ran to when a flasher got me on the back way, one lunchtime.
The only male teacher
Mr Langridge, was the music teacher, and the only male in the school. I seem to remember echos of Miss Pernagi ‘s broad Irish brogue, insisting that we “hang your shorts up by both hooks”. I left five years later, to go to De La Salle College, and delightedly threw my hat up into the tree, on the way out.