A Memorable Day.

Herewith, the latest subject in the Loose Bloggers Consortium list. Chosen for us by Ramana.


Do not forget to visit the other Bloggers in  the group for their writings on this topic. Ashok , Conrad, Gaelikaa, MariaMarianna, Ramana, Grannymar , Judy & Helen

Well, what is it that makes a day memorable? A special occasion? A special person or people?  The weather?  An event? A place? Something unexpected or unusual? A combination of all of these?

I could write about many days, our wedding which was the start of a long story  and when I first met my father’s full brother,  whom I had not known existed before. I could write about the birth of either son or the marriage of the elder of the two. There are Memorable Days about which I should not write and some about which I cannot write.

January 1958, a Wednesday I’m sure. The raw chill of winter seeps into  the bedroom and my breathe makes clouds in the air. A quick wash and then get dressed. It’s not fair my sister, and nearly everyone else in school has a day off. Not me. I have to walk the two miles to school to sit my 11plus exam, along with a few others deemed intelligent enough to have a chance of “passing”. Everyone else in the school had a day off from five year olds to fifteen year olds. Yes, Fifteen year olds, for this  was a village school which was attended by everyone of school age who did not “pass” the 11 plus as there was no Secondary Modern in the area, yet.

Breakfast, porridge with Golden syrup followed by fried bacon and fried bread and a cup of tea. When finished then the washing up had to be done, teeth cleaned and the morning visit to the toilet made.

Wrap up warm, short flannel trousers with long socks and strong shoes. A grey shirt  and a pullover and on top a mackintosh and a scarf at the neck. Woollen gloves, hand knitted and attached to a string that passed up the sleeves and across the shoulders. A school cap or maybe it was a sou’wester.

Ready to set off and then the first memorable thing of the day. Memorable because it has never happened before. A twelve sided brass thrupenny piece is thrust into my hand. To buy some sweets. I look at it in disbelief .

Off I set into the raw, rimey fog of that winter morning. My breath adds to the fog. Down the drive past the young trees to the gate onto the road. Turn right and walk down Crowgate Street. Not really a street but just a country road in Norfolk. Funny name Crowgate Street. “Gate” is an old word which means street..Crow Street Street…funny name that. Oh yes,even at that age I know things that no-one else at school does. Past the council houses where several of my fellow pupils live, the Finches and Margaret Gawlina. Children with whom I am not allowed to play, ever. Before the Council Houses  a turning that leads to Effie Bell’s shop (that shall have to wait for another time).

On I trudge, passing hedges and trees with twigs and branches covered with white rime in a tracery of nature’s lace, to the Coltishall cross roads and turn right again along Market Street towards the level crossing. I remember passing a sugar beet field where a man, a sack across his shoulders, over an old army great coat I shouldn’t wonder, tops beet with a bill hook,  throwing them into a cart between the shafts of which there stands a horse. A horse of seemingly infinite patience.  There theyare, silhouetted in the fog, like grey ghosts.

Beyond the level crossing, after pausing to listen for trains although the crossing keeper would have closed the gates in good time, I pass the junction of Watering Pit Lane, from the banks of which I will soon be able to pick wild primroses and violets and then the Horse and Groom public house, Landlord and Landlady, Malcolm and Renee Bradbury, where I stop to spend my thrupenny piece. What did I buy? I remember a conical bag of multicoloured sugared, puffed rice.

Beyond the pub the school. Red brick with large windows. Warmth at last.

For once Charlie  Hewitt, head master who the previous October had said of Sputnik 1 that, “Nowt will come of it” and who later would tell me that my father was an ignoramus because he did not know how to play chess, is quite amenable. He  fusses over the girls, his favourites, and tells us two boys to get warm.

I don’t remember the tests themselves but I remember the damp cold walk home afterwards and thinking that it was not as beautiful as it had been earlier in the day, with the rime frosting the trees.

The results?  Edwin Bullimore and I “passed” and the girls didn’t. As far as I recall, Edwin went to Paston Grammar School in North Walsham whilst I went to Wymondham College with its Nissen huts and Ghosts of American Airmen from WWII.

Memorable? Yes. It changed my life.






14 Responses to “A Memorable Day.”

  1. Grannymar Says:

    I was blowing the frost from my fingers as I trailed along beside you.

  2. magpie11 Says:

    More fool you…you should have taken the day off 😉

  3. Rummuser Says:

    What an opportunity you missed to impress the girls by showing some solidarity with them! Somebody’s loss is someone else’s gain and you seem to have come out on top alright. Great memory and very well presented Magpie.

    • Magpie11 Says:

      I think you got the wrong end of the stick…whilst Charlie was okay to us..but still made more fuss of the girls… being nicer to them than us…maybe i misremembered that but he always spent more time with them it seemed, except Netty Talbot who often received a smack on the legs.

      Perhaps I should write a post about teachers I knew.

  4. Judy Harper Says:

    Such a visual story! I said on a previous comment at another site that the story and writing is go great when written about a passion or a fond memory, something very personal! I’m like Grannymar, the scenes, smells and the cold on your walk, I could actually see and feel everything. Very good post!

  5. Grannymar Says:

    Magpie, Take a day off!!! We were sent to school even when we were sick. What a waste of bus fare.

  6. Ursula Says:

    Magpie, I am so glad, nay happy, about what you said in your two paragraph introduction, your feelings mirroring mine when I learnt about today’s subject. The horror of it: How does one choose between all those memorable days of a life?

    Your ‘story’ chimes with me: Isn’t it fantastic how the details of some early memories, like a walk to and from school, stay engraved on our minds? A mixed blessing at times, no doubt.


  7. Maria Says:

    Your description of the walk, the headmaster, and Crowgate street made me feel that I was right there with you. i am curious about ……
    ‘Past the council houses where several of my fellow pupils live, the Finches and Margaret Gawlina. Children with whom I am not allowed to play, ever. ”

    I can’t remember children I was not allowed to play with when I was young, later yes, when I was in high school and my parents thought they would be a bad influence on their daughter.

  8. Magpie11 Says:

    Ursula: A mixed blessing indeed. This was one walk I had without my sister or any one else to bully me….. I remember others as well.

    Maria: It was always curious how I was not allowed to play with other children yet my sister was…. I attended Scouts, that was okay but I was never allowed to play with the rough children. Of course little girls are never rough or nasty are they?
    Making friends is always hard, even today.

    I have vivid memories of children I was at school with and events that happened at school.

  9. gaelikaa Says:

    Very evocative writing. I felt I was there too.

  10. Ursula Says:

    Magpie, your response to Maria’s comment moved me, and your experience I can relate to.

    I moved from an idyllic small village environment to an exciting big big big city at age six or so. Luckily, in those days parents didn’t chaperon their children as seems to be rule these days (think of all those experiences today’s sheltered children miss out on). However, even I was warned off ‘bad’ influences and ‘forbidden’ to mix with certain children – not that my mother (pretty rebellious herself) was under any illusion that there was nothing she could ‘forbid’ me short of locking me into my room; which she never did. One fleeting influence during my first year at school I particularly remember was a girl, slightly older, streetwise beyond belief; I adored her. Did I NOT tag alone with her? Hell, I did. She (and many other ‘bad influences’ over the years – both male and female) proved an education, an inspiration, sometimes a warning. Ever the optimist I hope that all their lives have panned out – on the whole.

    As to making friends, Magpie: It’s a wonderful topic – maybe one to be taken up by the consortium.


  11. bikehikebabe Says:

    As children the boys were allowed to go to places like the mansion that was in ruin, take hikes across the hills. Or catch the streetcar & see movies downtown–10 cents. We girls had to stay close to home.

    • David Mills Says:

      This boy was allowed to wonder the fields and woods but never in the company of other children…except perhaps my sister. I can’t remember her actually coming. One place we lived was down the road from a place used by Romanies (Gypsies, Roma) to camp from time to time…I used to meet those children in the woods (now known as The Blean, in Kent, England). I knew where the bluebells, the primroses and later in the year the wild strawberries and even later the sweet chestnuts were. When wondering off we were called home for meals by blasts on an old ARP whistle. Any trips to the Cinema were real treats… or with the school to see such films as (I think) Scott of The Antarctic… to this day I swear I smelled the sausages cooking.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: