Mr Hall, of Thorp Academy, has most kindly asked me if I will write (in my blog) about the demise of the old school, and the rise of the new. This will be an on-going project until 2017, and I’m delighted to be involved in it. At the start of the new term I’ll set up a separate page on this site for Thorp, and keep it updated regularly with developments and photographs. Thank you very much for asking me Mr Hall, it will be tremendous fun.
Following on from my blog of a few days ago, my wish to visit Dad’s old classroom came sooner than I’d expected it to. There will be no access to that area of Thorp over the summer break, and so Kay Farrow kindly offered to show me around on Wednesday afternoon. I’m enormously appreciative to have been given the opportunity. I knew Dad’s room once I was in it, but I didn’t recognise it from the outside rear, because the classroom door used to lead you straight into the open air – now it’s part of a corridor, so that confused me a little, however I was last there in 1976.
Kay left me alone for a few minutes, giving what I’m sure was a made-up excuse, because she sensed that I would like to have a moment or two by myself. When she’d gone, I put my fingers in my ears and hummed. A strange thing for a middle-aged woman to do, but you see when I was six or seven, I used to walk over from the primary school next door (which had a shorter school day) and sit at the front of Dad’s class waiting for him to finish teaching. He always put me at the front, never the back, believing it was prudent to keep me in sight at all times. When I grew tired of drawing space ships, I used to hum, with my fingers in my ears to make the sound loud in my head. I’d persist with this until Dad lobbed a pencil at me, or whatever other missile happened to be at hand. Last Wednesday afternoon is the only time in my life that I’ve ever been in that room without him. I can say that with certainty, because unlike Kay, he would never have trusted me in there on my own, I’d have have drawn all over the walls. I felt a little sad of course, but I didn’t expect to run into Dad’s spirit because he hated the place. If he did drop in, it would only be to see what I was doing, and we would have had the following conversation.
Dad, “What are you doing?”
Me, “Taking photographs of your old classroom.”
Dad, “What the hell for?”
Speaking of spirits; our next port of call was to the old needlework room. When I was a student at Thorp this was a chamber of torture. I was not a creative individual. My peers would sit at the sewing machines, rhythmically treading away, flat un-creased pieces of material gliding softly under their fingers, wending gently beneath the rising and plunging needle. I, on the other hand, would spend my time trying to disengage concertinaed squares of cotton from a lump of stubborn ironmongery, which resolutely refused to relinquish its grip, apart from seizing any window of opportunity to pierce me through the thumb. One of our projects was to produce a stuffed toy donkey. God how I hated that donkey. My classmates progressed effortlessly from stuffed toys, to creating flowing trouser suits and twin sets, whereas I remained stuck with that damn bloody blue and white donkey. Eventually, I resolved the situation by smuggling it out of class, taking it directly home, and putting it straight into the stove. Anyway, the point of my telling you all of this, is that Kay and the colleague who has the classroom now, say that it’s haunted by a lady in a bottle green dress. Are they pulling my leg I wonder? They assured me that several different people have seen her, and she didn’t half shift the builders. I don’t believe in ghosts, but if I did, well I reckon I know exactly who this phantom is. I’m not going to tell you, because I’m asking anyone who I went to school with me to add a comment below please, and see if you think the same as I do!
I hope everyone at Thorp, staff and students alike, have a happy holiday. For the first time in my life I’m actually looking forward to autumn term!