Facts of life

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Martin
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Facts of life

Post by Martin » Sat Mar 01, 2014 5:01 pm

One CH anecdote on this topic was about a worried widowed mother of a young boy in Thornton A. She said to Fred H (the senior housemaster), something like, “Please will you tell little Cedric the facts of life, because I have no husband who can do this for me?” Sure enough Fred H called in young Cedric and said, “Your mother has asked me to tell you the facts of life. Can I presume that you already know all about it?” “Yes, Sir”, said the surprised Cedric. “Fine,” replied Fred H. “You can go now.”

Did anyone need and/or get a full explanation from some other master? Perhaps Prep boys did. But I suppose now it must be in the official curriculum.

michael scuffil
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Re: Facts of life

Post by michael scuffil » Sat Mar 01, 2014 6:25 pm

Housemasters were required to do this until 1956. Then Dr Matthews, an itinerant sex educator, was engaged. There are other threads about this.
Th.B. 27 1955-63

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LongGone
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Re: Facts of life

Post by LongGone » Sat Mar 01, 2014 8:32 pm

Of course I immediately remember the old joke about an American visiting, and asking about the restrictions:

Are they allowed to drink?
Absolutely not, it would mean instant expulsion.
how about smoking?
totally forbidden
Well, what dates?
That's okay, as long as they don't eat too many.
If a stone falls on an egg: alas for the egg
If an egg falls on a stone: alas for the egg

Chris T
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Re: Facts of life

Post by Chris T » Sun Mar 02, 2014 2:03 pm

I learned the facts of life at about the age of 9 or 10, from a fellow schoolboy at my pre-CH primary school. Sometime after this I told my widowed mother. She replied that she had already explained it all to me. But her explanations had been so contorted that I had not understood anything. Since I realised she was very embarrassed to talk about this topic, I agreed with her and that was that.

At the age of 11 I entered an Upper School House at CH, where, it seemed that everyone knew all about the facts. They did not seem particularly important, except for relevance to dirty jokes, which were crude and popular amongst some juniors. But I did learn one additional thing at CH. It was from someone who was of my year and my house. He explained all about menstruation, for I previously knew nothing about it, having only brothers. No one I knew at CH was taught the facts of life by a master and for me it certainly was never dealt with in biology lessons during the 40s and 50s.

Kit Bartlett
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Re: Facts of life

Post by Kit Bartlett » Sun Mar 02, 2014 7:06 pm

I remember a Mrs. Barber, Biology teacher, being asked where babies "came out" in a lesson once. She looked surprised and
asked the boy if he really didn't know. She then demonstrated to the class the place on her body and did not elaborate any further.
Incidentally she was the mother of Chris Barber, the jazz musician.

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Re: Facts of life

Post by michael scuffil » Mon Mar 03, 2014 9:30 am

I must say that I really learned the facts of life from Dr Matthews when I was in my first year at CH. My parents had obtained some library book for me when I was nine or ten, but it was so inexplicit that my notions were, to put it mildly, confused.
Th.B. 27 1955-63

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postwarblue
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Re: Facts of life

Post by postwarblue » Mon Mar 03, 2014 10:04 am

I have no recollection of being taught anything about this at CH although Charlie Hann the Chaplain had a story about some red Indian woman being triced up to a tree to give birth. The whole thing had to be explored heuristically in a hands-on manner after leaving CH.
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Re: Facts of life

Post by sejintenej » Mon Mar 03, 2014 10:23 am

michael scuffil wrote:I must say that I really learned the facts of life from Dr Matthews when I was in my first year at CH. My parents had obtained some library book for me when I was nine or ten, but it was so inexplicit that my notions were, to put it mildly, confused.
I was one of those not chosen to receive the Dr Matthews lecture and not seeing adults outside school except during The Archers it was many years before I even got the first inklings of what it is all about and even then it was wrong
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J.R.
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Re: Facts of life

Post by J.R. » Thu Mar 06, 2014 12:20 pm

I had a fair idea before receiving the 1st of the 3 Dr. Matthews lectures.

I certainly found them interesting and informative and had great fun in putting the information to the 'test' on leaving in 1963 !
John Rutley. Prep B & Coleridge B. 1958-1963.

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LongGone
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Re: Facts of life

Post by LongGone » Thu Mar 06, 2014 10:09 pm

One of the few specific things I remember from his lectures is "As long as you are both laughing, nothing improper will happen" Odd thing: my wife says I am the funniest man she has ever known.
If a stone falls on an egg: alas for the egg
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J.R.
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Re: Facts of life

Post by J.R. » Fri Mar 07, 2014 12:46 pm

LongGone wrote:One of the few specific things I remember from his lectures is "As long as you are both laughing, nothing improper will happen" Odd thing: my wife says I am the funniest man she has ever known.

So, 'Alls Well', then Mike ??
John Rutley. Prep B & Coleridge B. 1958-1963.

Oliver
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Re: Facts of life

Post by Oliver » Thu Apr 17, 2014 12:46 pm

In a 30 year old letter from FH Smith (Ma A 1919-26) he mentions his house’s practice concerning the Facts of Life. He wrote,

“When a boy was confirmed Maine A’s housemaster wrote to his parents, asking if they had taught facts of life to their son, or if they wished him to do it. If the latter the boy was then given a book to study in the privacy of the house master’s study and could then ask him questions.”

I wonder who this enlightened master was.

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