Class a personal story

Short Story.      About Class.   My personal experience

Let me begin with rather a sad tale. In many ways I was very lucky in the secondary school I attended. I was given a rather hard time in the primary, this was the 1948 and British solders were being blown up in Palestine, and our neighbour guessed by our name that we were a Jewish family . But it was their children that I had to fight in the playground . 

So when they decided to send me to a boarding school( they ran a busy guest house) I had a sense of relief. But I was also though I didn’t realise at the time bypassing the natural social selection that we refer to as class , where depending on your family , education ,occupation and way of speaking will often determine your position in this complicated and in many ways false structure ..

Moncton Wyld school sat in a valley that could just be seen from the main road .Every one was addressed by their first names , school meetings were held regularly and everyone to the smallest eleven year old to a youth who was studying to get to Oxford. There were some anomaly’s; the staff sat behind a large table , the younger ones sat on the floor and the elder on window seats.

So it had the appearances of equality but there were a few cracks in the furniture, ( A S Neil of Sommerhill , remarked in the book ‘ Neil, Neil, orange peel that there’s something fishy here.)

But as this is a short story we must limit our examination. In later reunions the general consensus was brilliant and happy , we were allowed amazing freedom , and on weekends we only had to register where we were going , and off we would go on our bikes , as long as we came back for supper.

So living in this classless society and then spending a year in Switzerland chef training followed by two years in a new idea of Catering College, I was ill prepared for the rigid experience of National Service . I joined the Catering Corps and on one of my walks around the camp saw an officer trainee who I recognised from meeting at a hotel in Bournemouth. As we had become sort of close I called out “ I’ll pop over to your barracks later”.

So when I arrived at the door and asked to see him , there was an uncomfortable silence , and he called out “ I’m afraid I’m busy “ I notice he was bulling his boots . I felt shattered as he was the first person that I knew and had a nice relationship with, in this rather lonely place for someone who didn’t fit in .

I still notice as someone now in their eighties ,how middle class people often seem to want to place or judge you . This rarely happens with more working class people . Perhaps this is more pronounced in the South East .

Apparently going to university helps you to find all this out and the mix and general freedom allows one to find ones place .

My father in law who was very bright and got to go to Cambridge from a working class family in the thirties , had a nervous breakdown .

My mum also from a working class family was certainly clever enough to be accepted.

After the war with the Attlee government in power they developed Comprehensive schools , so that those who didn’t attend the rather middle class Grammar schools had a chance to get to university.

Many people will argue that it’s all changed from those post war days , which in many way swept away many pre war old class attitudes . I’m not so sure , as long as we live in a capitalistic competitive society there will always be a struggle to get to the top , and if you went to ‘the right school’ or had wealthy parents who could grease the pole you’re always have inequality. PLG Tony

Sacred Silence meditation
The Snape Maltings Experience

Comments

 
No comments yet
Already Registered? Login Here
Guest
Thursday, 23 January 2020

Captcha Image