UPSTAIRS; DOWNSTAIRS

April, 1970 was the year of the Big Change in my life. I became wife of Norman Bisset, Welfare Officer of Lendrick Muir School and so came to live in my lovely new home No. 1 Bungalow, Lendrick Muir School with a new job as Housemother with Miss Duff as Matron, fellow housemothers Maggie Crozier, Isobell Comrey, later to become Isobelle Ramage and the boys. They seemed so pleasant and polite and I was to have school holidays, how lucky I thought. I was for the first time working with a mixed staff, my previous jobs being with young children and then delinquent teenage girls, there weren't too many men around. I had been used to working longer hours so though we were very busy looking after 70 - 80 boys and there never seemed to be enough time to deal with all the piles of mending, green jerseys and socks, grey shirts without a single button (I sometimes had nightmares about those piles), I was enjoying life. There were the regular head hunts on Monday nights when on rare occasions I was rewarded with a FIND - this was dealt with as discreetly as possible in the surgery. On Tuesday nights we checked feet for the dreaded Athlete's Foot. This was dealt with much less discreetly in the surgery, feet were soaked in Bull's Blood, all great fuss, most of the time.

Then of course there was the problem of language. The boys announced that they were going swimming in the deud *. Mrs. Bisset said "I thought that was the river Devon". Miss Duff explained, "Mrs. Bisset is English".

"Oh, is that wit's rang wi 'er", said Alec B.   Norman, a man of Fife, soon taught me the rudiments of the language but it was still difficult to tune into conversations not meant for my ears. Isobelle, a native, was the one to glean the information that warned of pending pranks. I think that sometimes she would make things more exciting than the boys intended. Look out for the full moon, she would warn and all too often there would be a restive air about the school, it paid the staff to be extra watchful that night.

Over the years of course things changed ; pupils and staff came and went, most onto a new challenge or to take a well-earned retirement. A few were even sadder losses. Maggie Crozier, a close friend by then, was killed in her car on her way to school one Saturday morning and Isobel Urquhart died on her way back to Lendrick after a holiday. Sad blows to us all.

Working in this close community colleagues become good friends and their leaving makes a great impact on the lives of those remaining, it also means that we have friends spread far and wide, they can be very handy when travelling .

I feel that I have been greatly privileged to have been a number of the team. So many wonderful talents among staff and pupils. Music, art, humour, patience, ingenuity, humour, dedication, stamina and so much more. Life hasn't all been idyllic of course there have been the bad times, difficult problems to be surmounted, sadnesses to endure, there was always the support when it was needed and so much practical help.

I firmly believe that we all need good memories to help us through and hope that the pupils who have known the Lendrick experience will all have gone away with enough good memories to see them through. Life during the last eighteen years even including our trip to the Glasgow Garden Festival and the Coca Cola experience has been rich in good memories for me and I take this opportunity to say thank you for that to everyone past and present.

* Deud - nae claes - nude.

MARION BISSET

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