Wednesday, January 11, 2012
The first few days at the City of Coventry Boarding school (a description)
We received this from an ex pupil who wishes to remain anonymous... it provides a good insight into how it felt to be sent to the school at 11..
The first few days….
The night before the big day, we (being me and my parents), are sitting at home making last minute preparations, checking that all the labels are in the clothes before packing them into my “little man” suitcase, because tomorrow it is of to BOARDING SCHOOL. Time for bed now, really can not sleep that much because in the morning have got to get up and go to a school that is miles away from home, new set of boys, new teachers…. I am not sure I want to go. My 11 year old mind is working over time, not knowing what to expect, but as my parents keep telling me … you will get a good education … it will be fun… make a man out of you…. not many boys get the chance you are getting…. and more that I can not remember.
It is now morning and I am dressed in my new school uniform, short grey pants, grey socks, grey shirt with a school tie denoting the “house” I belong to, blue blazer and blue cap, both with newly sewn on school badges. Everyone is silent in the car as we drive to Pool Meadow where I will get the bus to school. We park the car and I see all the other boys dressed like me, but some are in long pants (wonder what that means), the ones in suites must be the teachers. My dad gives my suitcase to a man that throws it up on to the back of a lorry. OK I am now getting scared, they are telling us to get on the bus, mine is Mortimer… really have changed my mind about this Boarding school thing but my dad and mother are saying their goodbye’s, saying they will see me on visiting day, me I am clinging on to my mother like there is no tomorrow – come to think about it there will not be if I get on that bus. My parents are saying all the right things again …you will get a good education … it will be fun etc. Some how I get from clinging to my mother to a seat on the bus, sitting next to another boy who looks like me, even to the tears running down his face.
The only thing I remember about the rest of the day is the first dining hall experience, waiting outside the dining hall for supper. Being called in, standing at a square table with seven other boys, who seem to get progressively bigger (2 first year, 2 second year, 2 third year and at the head of the table 2 lasts year). Then the teachers filed in and from somewhere I heard “for what we are about to receive may the lord make us truly thankful, Amen. You may be seated. The serving order is Blount Dudley Mortimer” Then a mad dash for the counter where you get a tray, load it up with rectangular aluminum serving dishes bring it back to the table where the head of the table gets first serving. No elbows on the table the head of the table says…. I soon forget and have a sharp pain on my shins, no elbows on the table I am told again.
Finally Sunday night comes and you get to write a letter home, mine was great, outlining all the things that were wrong with this place, including the slavery part, even threw in the 'you do not love me any more bit'. Then the icing on the cake ……. Cry a few tears and smudge the ink, that’s really going to get them to come and take me out of here.
Now Monday morning is here ……………… where are my parents!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sort of got it now, my parents are not coming to get me… more ammunition about how terrible the people at this school are, keeping my letters from my parents. Now I really do have to get away, the only way I am going to get all this information to my parents is escape. Once I tell them all about this hell hole they will keep me home. The planning begins, first find out where Coventry is from here,. O.K. now we can not travel in the school uniform, and need a good head start so they do not know I am missing. This coming Saturday after breakfast will fit all my requirements, I am gone.
Authors note, I still do “hospital corners” when I help my wife make the bed, I even inspect her’s!!