Time for another memory. It’s a pleasure to introduce you to Christine Blue, who paints a very vivid memory of her school days.
I started primary in August 1966. A very nervous and shy child, as you can probably tell by the above photo! Wearing my new school clothes, a white blouse, baby pink cardigan, grey pleated skirt, white socks and brown lace up shoes, carrying my little schoolbag (I can still recall the smell of the leather). Miss Strath was the teacher, she seemed nice but strict on that first day, and I remember she wore a blouse, skirt and cardigan too.
A school day always started with the register, and the Lords Prayer. First days in Primary One were learning and writing the alphabet and numbers – for homework each child was given a little brass tin containing individual letters and little wooden numbers of a different colour, which had to be learned for the next day. I remember on one of those first days standing in a little group while Miss Strath gave us a Geography Lesson from a book about the bison in North America – I needed to go to the toilet, but I was so shy, I was scared to ask and of course the inevitable happened!!! I was so, so embarrassed, but I soon got over this little faux pax, as you do when you are little! I did go on and win a “First Prize” book in Primary 1, one of the “Noddy” Series, sadly I no longer have it but I remember it had a bright yellow hardback cover!
I loved Primary School – the Lessons, all of them but particularly Arithmetic; the Leisure Activities and Crafts – cross-stitch, knitting (the most difficult was socks with the three needles), sewing (I still have my little apron with initial on the pocket, and pink and white check gingham sewing bag), rug making (this was mainly done by the boys); and of course playtime, full of fun and games – “tig” (various forms of, including chain tig!), rounders, skipping (“Christopher Columbus”, “I’m a little Bubble Car”), hopscotch, and when it was raining, all of us sitting on the floor cross legged in the foyer playing “The Farmer’s in his Den”.
Our Library was a little bookcase in the class- room – my very favourite books were the series of Beatrix Potter Stories – even when I see them anywhere today they evoke memories of the school. We did have gym equipment, coloured rubber hoops I recall and exercise benches to mention a couple of the things that were stored in the “Medical Room” where I remember the Big Weighing Scales were kept. Of the percussion instruments used in musical lessons, my favourite was the Triangle! Great Fun and Noise I’m sure! Everyone got a little bottle of milk in those days, it was always delivered and waiting at the School Entrance every day before we arrived, sometimes frozen in the winter or off in the summer. School dinners were great! Favourites were Shepherd’s Pie, caramel cake and custard, but not so much the prunes or whole apple stewed with custard! These meals were brought up each day from Callander in solid, heavy containers to keep them warm.
Christmas was a most favourite time, singing Carols and making our Calendars for the next year to take home to Mum – usually a rose carefully cut out from a gardening catalogue, glued on to a piece of card, the stem drawn in and the little calendar attached to the bottom. A Main Event was going up to Blair House (Church of Scotland Home at the time) to sing Carols to the elderly residents – one of my memories was being very, very self-conscious because my mum had put my hair up in a “bun” for the first time!
I stayed at the “Sluices” Loch Katrine, my four sisters also attended the School, as did all the children staying round Loch Katrine from Strone Farm down and to Lendrick. I have so many happy memories of my primary school days, too many to recount I just wish we had had videos or camera phones then! But I can honestly say some of my very best days were spent at this little, wonderful Trossachs School, and my early life shaped by the wonderful teaching and education provided by Miss Strath.