I would like to thank you all for your heart felt comments on my previous post. They were a great help to Mo and I, in what is a very sad time for us. I can’t think of anything funny to post at the moment, so here is a snippet from my life in the 60’s.
I was 15 and about to leave school and step out into the big wide world. It was usual for your mother or father to come to the school and meet with your form teacher to discuss a job for you.
It was 1961 and very few people stayed on at school to take GCE’s, as they were called then – just a handful out of the ‘A’ stream class. I was in the A stream, but I hadn’t even thought about staying on, until one day a teacher bellowed out, “Leach! Why aren’t you staying on?” I, in my usual very shy way, just said “I don’t know sir” and cringed at the attention it bought me. No more was ever said on the subject.
Anyway, there I was with my mum and my favourite teacher, Miss Richardson. She was, in fact, the only decent teacher we had in the whole school! She made you feel important. She actually held a two way conversation with you, and listened to you! It was unheard of in our school. We were always bellowed at, and told to be quiet if we attempted to reply to a teacher. She was younger than any of the other teachers – a breath of fresh air. Needless to say she didn’t fit the mould, and didn’t stay very long. She left soon after I did. I count myself fortunate to have been in her class in her only year at our school.
With my mum at my side, Miss Richardson said “What sort of job did you have in mind?”
“A hairdresser” I said. Well didn’t everybody want to be a hairdresser?
She smiled. “Are you sure you wouldn’t rather do something you have a talent for” she said. I looked at her and she smiled again. “What about your art? You have a real talent. Wouldn’t you like a job that used that talent?”
“Ok” I said, not really seeing the importance of all this at that young age. She immediately fixed me up with an interview, and handed my mum the details.
You need to understand that a 15 year old, back then, was little more than a child, probably equivalent to an 11 year old today, and still wearing white ankle socks. I find it very strange that, as young as we were, the vast majority of us were soon to be holding down full time jobs, and we accepted that responsibility easily and eagerly – one day wearing ankle socks and bushy eyebrows, the next, wrestling with suspender belts, high heels and make up. It really was that sudden a transformation. Yet we handled it.
< Me, just before I left school – Bushy eyebrows intact.
Mum had taken me out and bought me my first set of ‘adult’ clothes. The image of my new coat makes me cringe now, but it was ‘hot’ when I chose it. It was a straight wrap over coat with a tie belt. Wait for it…. It was red plaid! Very fashionable in 1961, but UUUGHHH!
The day came for my interview and, again, mum came with me. Parents always accompanied their child to their first interview. It was expected by the would be employer. I got the job, as a trainee designer and was due to start one week after I left school. My salary would be five guineas, which was £5.25 pence ($8.35 US). It was a very good salary in those days, and set a future trend for me. After all, this was the beginning of the sixties and everything was plentiful, including jobs.
I thank Miss Richardson, and often think about her. She made my last year at school a good year, and set my future up for me, because she cared. I hope she’s had a good life.