Memories rekindled in Auckland NZ

I’m sitting in the restaurant at breakfast. The air is crisp and very cold outside but despite that a few hardy souls dressed in summer attire are jogging past.

Class was great yesterday. It was held in an old school building which brings back memories of past school days for me.

I went to school in Tasmania and the buildings were very similar, polished wooden floors tall ceilings and windows that reach to the sky. I spent a lot of time looking out of the windows in my school room and these are similarly frustrating for a child.
Built well above child head height, one could only look up, not out.!!!!

The class room even smelt the same, but the environment couldn’t be more different. It was sunny and bright as the light streamed in through the windows. 26 ladies abuzz with conversation, fabric of all hues on tables and sometimes spilling to the floor. Morning tea of coffee and scones and the scent of a newly flowering pink magnolia.


In my class I remember being constantly cold and afflicted with bright red chilblains on my toes and fingers.
Out teacher alway hit us with the wooden ruler right across the chilblains. The pain still haunts me when I think about it.

I was nine years old. Our class had a number of girls dressed in black sombre uniforms announcing they were from the catholic orphanage down the street. They had to walk to school two by two in lines. I, on the other hand had the joy of hopping on and off the bus to school, of writing my name in the frosted windows and making spit balls out of paper and firing them at will at the boys on the other side of the bus.

The “Orphanage girls” didn’t join in with play and kept to themselves. They were the target of abuse from out vicious maiden teacher. My sense of inequality was raised to it’s ultimate height in that class when she broke a ruler over the fingers of one of the orphanage girls… The girl screamed out in pain as we could hear the crack on her fingers and the bone poked out of the skin showing a fracture. I launched myself at the waist of the crabby teacher, pushing her backwards, I imagine my short pigtails stood on end.


She was so surprised when I announced in my loudest voice……“You’re Wicked”   she stopped in her tracks and sat down ‘plop’ on her chair. I ushered the “orphanage” girl out of the room to the nurse. My courage remained inflated by sheer indignation for the rest of the morning. My face probably told everyone to "Leave me alone"

From then on I was the best friend of all the black attired girls who had to walk two by two to school and to church.

I learned one of the best lessons in life at nine years old.

Somehow I felt we made up for the sadness when Jinda and Callie children were able to leave an orphanage and come live with us as family.

It’s interesting how a situation can bring a flood of memories….!!!!!!


4 Comments Add yours

  1. maree watt says:

    What a lovely story Thanks for sharing Pam…looks like a nice class you did.

  2. Judy B says:

    You jogged a memory of natural justice at school.
    Teacher was a big lady … make that a wide woman. She also was not a very nice lady, handing out detention and sending us to the headmaster for breathing in when it should have been out. Her chair was standard issue wooden chair, no screws, nails or glue. Under the pressure of her weight it started to wobble. Over several weeks the wobble got worse, and each time she sat down we held our breath!
    One day the inevitable happened, and we not only had the pleasure of seeing her unceremoniously hit the floor, but we got sent out of the room while her husband, the headmaster, came to see what the clatter was and got her upright again. If we had stayed in the classroom we would all still be in detention for laughing!
    One of the boys got the cane for sabotaging her chair, but he reckoned that for once, even though he didn’t do anything to the chair, he probably deserved six of the best for laughing as much as he did!

  3. Pennie Griffiths says:

    You good girl you… I’m in awe!!

  4. Kathy Wahl says:

    I went to a Catholic elementary school and had one nun who was very nasty to the boys in particular. (Although to my knowledge she never broke any fingers.) Stories like these are, unfortunately, too familiar.
    I’m anxious to see the quilts from this class. The fabric colors in your pictures are fabulous!

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