It was DR who called me into her office one afternoon to break the sad news that my grandmother had died. She was very matter of fact about it, distant even, but she let me ring home. I didn't go home for the funeral, I have always regretted that I was never given the choice. I wonder if Miss Tucker gave you the choice Jo? Infact I just went back to lessons that afternoon as if everything was normal, I think I was in shock.. the next day I cried for hours, alone. For some reason I had a cubi to myself that term and I hated the loneliness. I re-took my O level Biology in the dining room when Miss Tucker had just started. There were loads of interruptions, telephone ringing at least twice and even cleaners coming in and out! No wonder I failed with an H the lowest grade at that time! Where did we take our exams, was it in our usual classrooms?
A family death, the news broken by DR, matter-of-fact and distant; how typical. You should
have been allowed the opportunity of going home for the funeral! What a sad mis-handling of such a situation on her part. Every sympathy!
Goodness, taking an 'O' level in that Dining Room with interruptions going on and ruining your concentration! That was unfortunate.
I had to re-take Bio too - the exam was set up for me in a smallish room in the Old School and I was lucky - the room felt as if it had a good atmosphere, the table and chair were at the right height and hooray - I'd got the Iris Rhizome to draw again and it turned out much better than my previous effort. Merce had come to invigilate, and I felt pleased that one of the Important Mistresses had been sent.
(Maybe she'd been pleased for an opportunity to catch up on some of her own paperwork?)
I'd also got The Digestive System which I'd just done again with Miss Jukes for Home Economics, the subject previously known as Cookery. Miss Jukes claimed the credit for my Biology 'A'. On and on she went for at least a couple of weeks; about how Her Teaching had got me through...
I remember taking 'O' levels in 1969 in the Sixth Form Rooms - an alien envronment, where the desks and chairs scraped distractingly on the polished floor, and one scribbled away, hot day after hot day, with the background summer sound of the mower endlessly making its way up and down The Field. I even remember my position on the far back left of that room for Maths. I'd finished early, natch, so wrote a careful explanatory letter to the examiner, explaining my difficulties with Maths and how dear Mrs Thomas, although a sweet woman, had never addressed these difficulties in the slightest but tactfully ignored me.... whoops, here I go again! I had hoped that maybe the Marking Authorities might have got back to DR. I would have managed to explain to DR why I'd done so badly via an alternative route! Probably the examiner felt too depressed by the enormity of my dyscalculia to do anything but award me a 'U'. Or maybe a 'V' for neatly underlining my correct name on page 1.
However - DR's house. I wonder who lives there now? It would have been such a lovely family home. I'd like to think of DR's grim Study being put to some really nice happy use - a children's playroom maybe?
I wonder how those Housemistresses felt. All they had was a bedroom and a sitting room! And there was DR with a whole big house to herself!
"Baldrick, you wouldn't recognise a cunning plan if it painted itself purple, and danced naked on top of a harpsichord singing "Cunning plans are here again.""