memories of yeovil

memories of St Gildas'

Carolyn Osborn's memories of St Gildas' schooldays

 

Many thanks to Carolyn Osborn for her memories of St Gildas school -

"I did my first year of infant's school in Ilchester but we moved to Summerleaze Park when I was six and from then on I went to St Gildas infants school. The infants was mixed, both boys and girls, but when you got to eleven the senior school was all girls.

One of my earliest memories of my first year at St Gildas was of a little boy [name withheld] who wet himself and the nuns, supposedly good, kind people, made him stand on a table in the middle of the classroom wearing navy blue knickers and holding a big sign saying "I wet my knickers". That was dreadful and wouldn't be allowed now, the poor little lad was crying his eyes out all day - I've never, ever forgotten that, it was awful.

Sister Lucy was a nice lady. She was the head of the infant's school and was big, rotund and very jolly - a lovely lady. But there was one nun, Sister Marie-Clare, who just used to shout and scream. She was no teacher and simply couldn't handle children, so she would regularly lose her temper and then she would quickly pull herself together and do a penance, so we all had to get down on the floor and say "Hail Mary's" twelve times or so, and she would count them off on her rosary.

All us children on the floor were sniggering and messing about - like you do at that age - and then, of course, she'd get mad once more, start shouting and screaming again and we'd all have to get back down on the floor and do more "Hail Mary's". It was dreadful really but it's one of the things that sticks out in your mind - she was a real nightmare, that woman.

Mother Superior was Sister Josephine and she was a really good teacher but she was extremely strict - I was terrified of her. I got lines from her more than once, I remember getting lines for running in the corridor and another time, when we had cookery, we made shortbread and when she came round to inspect our results half of mine was missing as I'd eaten it. She said "Where's it gone?" and I said "I don't know." - more lines! I got even more lines because I decided I was going to do them using carbon paper, but it didn't all come out properly so I got found out on that one and had to do them all again in detention.

We were frequently marched, two by two, through Bide's Gardens to wait at the Red Lion bus stop. There was a small shop by the bus stop opposite the pub that sold sweets, but we weren't allowed to go in. Naturally, we often did venture into the shop and one day I bought some bubble gum. Showing off to my friends I blew an enormous bubble that burst in my face and covered my hair. I got myself into double trouble - told off by the nun for going into the shop and told off again later by mum for getting bubble gum in my hair.

When I was thirteen we all had to leave St Gilda's because it became a state school for boys and girls. We took a 13-plus exam, which I passed, so then I went to the Girl's High School."

 

Carolyn's straw boater from her days at St Gildas' school in the late 1960s - kept by her mum all this time.