Friday, July 6, 2012

School Days of the 1970's

I was having a little misty eyed trip down memory lane the other day, about my old school days in the 70’s. Oh yes, the days of ladybird infestation, yellow Cortinas and the longest, hottest summer ever...the summer of 1976.

Image by Velo Steve

It really did seem as though everything was sunny and hot all the time in my memory – I can barely remember rain or snow featuring anywhere for about 10 years – though of course it must have been there!

Schools are so different these days, what with their school merit stickers and barbed wire fences. We had nothing of the sort!

You were unlikely to get prizes for being a model student in those days – you were expected to be a model student and you would get the back of someone’s hand or the dreaded ruler if you stepped out of line!

What on earth happened?!

Marvellous free milk

My first school memory is of the infants school, and being given a little bottle of milk every day. We could never have the milk first thing in the morning, the teachers always made us wait until first break.

The milk was left in old style red crates near the window, so by the time it came to sink your straw into that lovely foil lid, the milk was always really hot and creamy!

Image by grongar

I don’t think semi-skimmed had been invented then, in 1975, and health and safety was something for higher up in Government, not places like schools.

The most amazing thing was, this was a Government initiative, and the milk was given to all infant school pupils over the whole country – for free!  Wasn’t that nice of them?!

However, my nostalgia tended to gloss over the fact that we were getting the milk as it was a commodity that not many families could afford in those days – watch this old clip and find out about it:

Pie and potatoes
School dinners were also a feature in my school days. These were free when I first started school, but were very cheap all the way through to the junior years.

Delicacies that I recall include: mince and onion pie, with a golden crust top; industrial mash potato with a really distinct taste; over cooked cabbage that stank out the whole school dining room; liver and bacon (which I hated) in thick gravy, mushy peas and baby carrots.

We certainly didn’t have exotic things such as pasta, rice, curry or salad! They hadn’t been thought of at this point in time!

This was followed by some very stodgy pudding in various flavours – sticky toffee, spotted dick - and thick lumpy custard – it had to be thick and lumpy, that is how we had it. The other staple was the dreaded semolina – I don’t know what happened to that stuff, but I really don’t ever want to see it again!

How we got nutrition out of this stuff I’m not sure, but it seems to have done us alright as a generation.

Discipline, 1975 style

As for discipline, well, we wouldn’t dare upset the teacher! We were little angels, always standing in queues in pairs, holding hands, and only speaking when we were spoken to...
Well, maybe I am looking back with rose tinted glasses on with that one, but I do know that the head teacher wouldn’t think twice about getting the ruler out and whacking you across the palm with it if necessary.

In fact, I think I did get on the receiving end of a ruler once, in the huts, I was chatting too much, apparently! It was more mortifying having to march to the front of the room and have the teacher chastise you in front of everyone else, rather than the actual punishment!

Ah yes, those were the days! Anyone else have any memories of the school days of the 70’s – please share them here!

Estelle Page is an interior designer by trade and a mother by nature. She enjoys all things related to home decor, gardening and DIY, but enjoys parenting the most. She blogs regularly for School too.

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