Starting School

 I was almost six years old when I started school. I don’t know at what age my aunt proposed sending me but in any case I was spotted by a couple of Walking Nuns from the Convent of Mercy, out doing their Sunday calls, and me just playing harmlessly in the street. They followed me home and upon enquiry, were horrified that I had not started school at my age!

The following day I was taken to St Joseph‘s Primary School along with my sister Patsy who was almost four. This was my introduction to Sister Malachy who was in charge of the ‘infants’.

In retrospect Sister Malachy should never have been entrusted with the charge of small children. She was bad-tempered and given to the use of the cane for the smallest misdemeanours. Most of the children were terrified of her.

That first morning we entered a large classroom with rows of miniature benches and small bucket-shaped chairs. At the back of the room was a beautiful doll’s house, a rocker and several dolls and small toys. We were sadly disillusioned when they never reappeared after that first day. They were used as a ploy to reassure first-time parents as well as ‘babies’ on their first day of school.

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