15 November 2003

Milnthorpe First Days and School

Strange, I don't remember our move to Kidside, near Milnthorpe. Neither do I remember much of the first few weeks, I don't understand it.

Talking to my brother John, although younger than I by over 3 years, he remembers much more than I.

John and I were sent to Milnthorpe Boys School another 2-teacher school, John 10 went into the junior room and I at 14 into the senior classes. I quickly made friends, particularly with Keith Butcher and Grier Edmeade along with Dennis Hutchinson and Keith Almond and a few more. The headmaster was Joe Cookson and his assistant was Ferdy Casson a quiet dark-haired man. I didn't stay too long at Milnthorpe School, I was quickly heading for 15, the official leaving age but during my short stay there I enjoyed the school very much and its idyllic setting alongside the River Bela, the same waters which passed through our new home at Kidside.

John's stay there also was short, he was coming up to the age of the 11+ exam which when it arrived he passed with flying colours. John transferred to Heversham Grammar School for his secondary school years, an old and much respected establishment in the field of education, not far from Milnthorpe.

Joe Cookson, known as Old Joe to generations of pupils was a pale skinned red-faced beefy man with sandy-red hair and freckles. His hair, parted down one side never seemed to lie down to his scalp, but usually sticking up at angles. Old Joe had a quick temper, he tried hard to drum education into his pupils and his pupils mainly 11+ rejects had no interest in learning, it was a battle. Soon his frustration would boil over, he would roar and shout and his face would go redder with rage, then he would hit the nearest desk with his cane or pointer, an all mighty whack. At this point everyone used to sit up straight and wonder what next? He would stand there, glaring and slowly he would simmer down and bring himself under control. As far as I remember he never used the cane, he just emphasised a point with it.

There was another side to Joe Cookson but that tale will follower later.

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