Her is my contribution, requested by my daughter and my new found cousin in America
The Stepmother and the Nun.
|Dad aged about 12|
When Dad started school, in April 1920 he went to the state school just around the corner but it wasn't long before the priest from the Roman Catholic church was knocking on the door asking why he wasn't going to St Marys with his brothers. Ma (she was called Ma by all her children) agreed and he was soon trotting along behind Fred and Steve trying desperately to keep up.
In those days the teaching in the school was done by the Sisters of St Joseph who lived at Llantarnam Abbey. some of them were quite formidable and even the parents were afraid of the Nuns - except Ma.
|Ma, the youngest picture I have.|
He never knew what he did, after all he was only just five and a half, but the sister dragged him to the front of the class and made him hold out his hand and then she hit him with the cane, catching the joint at the base of his thumb with the cane so that by the time he went home for his dinner his hand was so swollen he couldn't use it.
Ma walked him back to school in the afternoon, having first cut a bandage from rags and bound his hand then made him a sling for his arm. He said she kept a firm hold on his good hand and told him not to worry.... "I'll give her SISTER!" He always remembered that because it made no sense.
She politely asked to see the sister responsible for Dad's class and asked her why she had hit him with the cane. The sister said something in reply and Ma reacted.
Now, you need to picture in your mind a very tall, Victorian, redbrick school with a formidable wooden door that was only changed for a new plastic and glass modern one three years ago. Are you standing there, waiting to go in? OK, let's open the door. In front of you is a small vestibule. On the left a steep staircase goes up and on the right is the door to the boys' cloakroom.
Ma had gone up the stairs to the first landing where, at that time there was a door to the office, a door to the main school and the stairs turned through 180 degrees and continued up. Through the door into the office and on one side was a large walk in cupboard. When the sister replied to Ma she obviously didn't give the correct answer because Ma said "See how you like being punished for getting something wrong!" and with a quick shove she had pushed the Nun into the cupboard, shut the door and turned the key.
She took my Dad's hand again and led him down the stairs saying "let's get you home, no more spelling for you."
My Dad loved her from that moment. Even when she was at her worst - and she could be a real tyrant - he knew that if anyone tried to harm any of those kids she would simply kill them and step over the bodies.
So there you have it. If this story has pleased you at all then just go on over to Sian's place fromhighinthesky
and see what other delights are in store for you.