to Margaret Cooper who wrote:
"I thought it would be nice to
write a little bit about what it was like going to school in the
On my first day at All Saints School,
Glen Street, I arrived there with my Mickey Mouse gas mask over my
shoulder, only to find all the other kids had graduated to black
ones. How i hated that pink mask with the wobbly nose and all
the stick I got from the other kids. I did eventually get a
black one but I feel the pink one left me scarred for life. ha
good sometimes. Boxes of apples would arrive. It was
said they were a gift from Australia. We would line up and we
would all receive three apples each."
someone would come to school and measure our feet if our toes went
over a certain mark we got extra clothing coupons."
Margaret Cooper, Tollcross, Edinburgh:
Message posted in EdinPhoto guestbook, June 23, 2011
to Norman Sutherland who wrote:
"It was the beginning of the Autumn Term
in 1942 when I started school at Roseburn. I
was five years old and had to get a gas mask, because the War was
I got a child's version with a rubber
floppy nose designed to offset the fear that small children might
"With my new
school bag on my back and my gas mask on my shoulder, my mother took
my brother and me on our first day where we met the headmaster, Mr.
I had my head down during the
conversation he had with my mother, and he remarked,
'Your little boy seems to be very shy.'
Actually, I wasn't. I was simply staring
at his spats, that I had never seen before. These were leather
coverings above the shoes and over the ankles that fashionable
gentlemen wore in those days!"
"We had some wonderful teachers,
many called out of retirement to replace the younger teachers who
were called up for military service. However, there were a few who
didn't belong teaching small children."
First Day at School
On my first day I sat in the front row
and not knowing the rules, I turned to talk to the kid behind me.
Our new, grumpy and very large teacher screamed and
threw her thick leather belt at me! I ducked and it hit the
innocent little kid behind me, right on
the nose! Blood started flowing from his nose as he ran out the
Minutes later, the door opened again and
there stood the bloody-nosed kid, his mother and the headmaster.
The mother screamed and swore as she lunged at the teacher.
The headmaster struggled to restrain
the mother, as the teacher hid behind her desk.
Meanwhile, I was slowly and silently
slipping lower and lower in my seat, hoping that they would all
forget that I was the party responsible for this ruckus. They did!
Thus ended my first day at Roseburn school."
Norman Sutherland, Fallbrook, California, USA:
July 15, 2011
to Gus Coutts who wrote:
Food Collections Scheme
"I wonder if anybody else out there
can remember school food collections following World War 2
The scheme was for pupils to bring in food weekly for the starving
Germans and Displaced Persons in the chaos following WW2.
I was in Primary 2 in 1946/47 and we
were required to bring in each week - in paper bags (every house at
that time had a drawer full of paper bags and bits of string) - a
couple of spoonfuls of tea and sugar together with a tin of
something. The teacher would consolidate the tea and sugar prior
to collection and dispatch.
Having been brainwashed even as an
infant during the war and questioning why we were sending food to
the Germans I remember being told that not all, Germans were bad."
Did this Happen?
time, I have never seen or heard any
mention of the Food
Collection scheme. I sometimes
wonder if it existed only in my
Gus Coutts, Duddingston, Edinburgh: July 22,
to Lilian Young who wrote
Roseburn Primary School
"I had a good chuckle when I read
about the first day
at Roseburn School by Norman Sutherland above.
It was almost a duplicate of my first day in January 1942, gas mask
We had to carry those awful masks,
and we had drills in school where we had to wear them. I was scared
to death of mine. It was bright red
and blue. My Mom made a carrying case for our gas masks which were
often used to hit some other kid."
who was 4 years older than me, told me to
go into the class and
get to the back row in the corner, then
the teacher would never see me. She
outfoxed us by re-seating us
alphabetically by name."
too, recall Mr. Poulson and his spats. He
had been a teacher in my Mom's day.
She made the same comment about my being shy,
and I too was fascinated by his spats. It's
funny what our little minds took in.
"I can recall
two fierce female teachers - Miss Spellman
and Miss Theron. They were famous
for strapping or belting the pupils and we were all terrified of
They always made the kids hold their
hands one on top of the other so that they would feel the pain in
both hands. They also had long wooden pointers which they whacked
I also recall the lunches where these
two teachers patrolled the tables in order to make sure that each
child ate everything on the plates whether they liked it or not."
Marching into School
being in the playground and the bell ringing.
We we all got into our classes and marched,
two by two, into the school and to the class,
to the tune of 'A Fine Old English
Lots and lots of wonderful memories of
Lilian Young, USA: August 3, 2011