GOING TO SCHOOL IN MOSMAN (1)

Posted by
Paul Morrison (formerly Paul Hastie)
Streets
Cowles Road
Time
1958—1961

All the schools were close by and within walking distance of our house, 52 Cowles Road. The first school I attended (in 1958) was MOSMAN KINDERGARTEN located on the corner of Belmont Road and Cowles Road. The kindergarten was in the local church there. The only thing from this time I can remember is that after the lunch provided by the kindergarten, the twenty or so children would have an afternoon nap. We would sleep in canvas fold up stretchers. A friend and I found that the stretchers made excellent trampolines. We would jump up and down on them until one day the canvas in my stretcher broke, making a loud ripping sound. I quickly escaped under the blankets, hoping not to be discovered! I can still remember praying to be made invisible while the other children and teachers gathered round me, the teachers demanding to know what had happened. Afterwards, I was given a long lecture that the stretchers were for sleeping in and not for jumping on. Mum, however, gave me more than a lecture when she came to pick me up after school and take me home. This was a few hard slaps round the legs. I never jumped on the stretcher ‘beds’ again!

My next school was MOSMAN INFANTS, (1959 – 1961). The school was in Belmont Road and is still there to this very day. Many of the buildings were built in, I think, either the 1890s or early 1900s, with a large asphalt playing ground surrounded by several large and leafy trees. The classrooms in the school had uncomfortable wooden desks which seated two. All of these desks in the dark and gloomy classrooms had the scratched initials of previous students on them, often with the year the student had attended the school. We played a game to find the earliest date. I found an initial with the date of 1915 – I think the oldest date found was 1913 or 1914. There were about thirty children in each of the three or four classes. I attended Mosman Infants in 1959 and though the school course covered only two years, I was forced to repeat one more year. I remember the teacher telling Mum this was because she thought I was a little too immature to be going on to Mosman Primary School. Why was I considered immature? It was because I was quiet and well-behaved, and not as noisy and outgoing as the other students. My most outstanding memory of time spent in Mosman Infants School was my first girl friend, a quiet and petite girl with red hair whose name was Lynette Shute. When the school year began in 1961, I had lost my friends from the previous year, all of whom had moved on to Mosman Primary School, the ‘big’ school further up the road. There was worst to come! The teacher decided that a boy and a girl would be seated next to each other in each of the desks. How we were chosen I cannot remember, but I do remember it was like facing a firing squad as I waited for my name to be called out. When I was finally seated next to Lynette, (she hated to be called Lyn), we didn’t speak a word to each other for the next two days – mostly out of shyness. Many of the other boys and girls didn’t speak to each other for the whole year! Lynette and I became good friends, even to the point of sharing our lunches and sitting under the shade of a tree in a quiet corner of the playground, enjoying each other’s company while the other children played nearby in the playground. I was heart-broken when I suddenly found out at the end of the year that Lynette would ‘not’ be going to Mosman Primary School. (It was not co-ed). She would be going to a different school…

Paul Morrison (formerly Paul Hastie) · 12 April 2018

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