I went to St Mary’s School in Mount Street, which sadly is no longer there. This poem is about my last year when we sat the ‘scholarship’ examination. It was in 1950/51 when I was 10 years old.
When I was at St Mary School
I was classed as being bright
But my written work was messy
It was not a pretty sight!
I used to go to the headmaster’s class
With the 8 brightest kids in school
But because of my untidy handwriting
He’d publicly make me a fool
“You’ll never pass for Varndean”
He’d say this all along
“You rush right through your papers
And get half the answers wrong”
I tried to heed his reasoning
The exams were almost here
I decided to be the way I was
Of that I was very clear!
I whizzed right through the papers
There were two I didn’t do
I finished very early
And had time to check right through
Three days before we broke up
The results were through at last
And much to my surprise and joy
My teacher said I’d passed!
The Head said he wanted to see me
I went to his study and then
He sat there and said “I was wrong about you”
And gave me his fountain pen!
And so I left my junior school
With memories some happy, some sad
But I’ve never forgotten St Mary’s
Or all the friends that I had