Dear Editor, To the delight of many parents, school
will soon begin. Many children I've spoken to are looking forward to renewing old acquaintances and acquiring new knowledge.
I wish this had been my attitude, but I detested every day I spent in my school in North Vancouver.
It was fashioned after the old British tradition. I was a boarder, as I was an imposition on both my parents who had divorced and now enjoyed new married relationships. A boy was the last thing they wanted to share their bliss.
The school routine never varied. Early morning reveille was followed by cold showers, breakfast, and then lessons.
The teachers would not tolerate the slightest interruption during lessons. An upright posture in complete silence was demanded of each pupil, or else a caning was forthcoming.
A caning, for those who don't know the term, involved brutal hits over the buttocks while in a touch-your-toes position.
We were forced to thank our Master (as the teachers were called) for administrating
a beating whose evidence would last for up to two weeks as angry welts across your buttocks.
The only portion of the day that I enjoyed was the two-hour break for lunch and soccer or cricket practice.
Every evening there was a compulsory study period whose length of time was relative to one's age. After completing this, we were allowed time to read before being ordered to bed in the dormitory, where talk was forbidden.
Weekends were worse: a compulsory twohour-long hike with a master on Saturday, and collecting our weekly allowance (mine was 15 cents) of which one third must be placed in the church collection plate the following morning.
The holidays were no better, as after a few weeks I was assigned to a boy's camp which was usually almost as bad as North Shore.
No wonder I joined the wartime army at 16, and enjoyed the relative freedom immensely.
@ Copyright 2013