was at Lendrick between 1957 and 1963.

2004-07-13
Ronald wrote:

"I came upon this site over a week ago. At that point, I could remember very little about LMS; aside from the fact that I had been there. Since then I have tried to remember as much as I can about what the school was like as well as my time there. It is amazing how slowly these memories will allow themselves to be prized back into focus. I don't know how much is of interest, or indeed has already been remembered by others, but I felt people might be interested in my memories.

While I was there I was called Ronald Gordon. I arrived at Naemoor in January 1957 and I left in the summer of 1963. I have no idea how many pupils were there in 1957, but it appears to have been quite a large school. The junior school had five classes with ages ranging from 7 to 12 and the senior school had six forms with ages ranging from 12 to 18. I was 9 when I arrived in '57. For some reason, which I have never been able to fathom, I was put in what would have been dorm 7 or 8 on the third floor. Reading the site material I now realise I should have been in a dorm on the second floor, but in all my time there I remained on the third floor and I think that dorm that I was initially placed in was the senior dorm. As the years went by I think I was in every other dorm on that floor at some point.

Back then the senior girls also slept on the third floor. They had dorms 2 & 3 [ the suite on the right hand corner of the third floor ] It would be less than truthful not to admit that there was a certain amount of movement between the various dorms once the matrons had left the floor and on occasions they did return in an attempt to try to catch the various culprits out.

The junior girls I believe were on the second floor, because I do remember that we used to send messages back and forth tied to our dressing gown cords. Much later I remember that we often got involved in pillow fights. Most were stopped well before we got seriously into the fight. But for some reason, one was not. It was a fight between us on the third floor and the girls on the second. There was a wonderful spiral staircase that connected the two floors and was often used by staff to catch us out. Well up and down that spiral staircase we went. It was the most glorious pillow fight I remember. The girls won that one and our floor was an absolute mess. When, eventually, we were stopped it looked like a war had broken out on the third floor. I am sure we all got a slippering, it was the normal punishment in those days. In fact because it was the main means of punishment, it made us be very careful in our choice of what slippers to buy for ourselves.

Each of the floors had a broom etc. room, where all the brushes, mops etc were stored. The third floor one was at the top of the steps leading onto the third floor. I don't know if pupils who were there in the '70s and '80s and later did so, but back then there was a ritual. We mopped and brushed and polished Naemoor and we did so before we had breakfast. Areas of the school were divied out and we all got together each morning and cleaned the school.

Around 1961 / 1962 something must have happened, but for the life of me I can't remember what. Anyway during that period a house was bought in Rumbling Bridge and all the girls went to live there. Each morning they would return to the school and each evening they would leave. Sometimes they would be driven up and down and sometimes they walked or were marched up and down. What I do know is that it was not the more serious situation, that did occur during the '61/'62 period, that caused the girls to be moved to Rumbling Bridge because the girls were already down in Rumbling Bridge when that happened. I suspect Mr and Mrs Grieve became more conscious of the problems of having the girls and boys not only within the same building but also sleeping on the same floor. And during that period there was an instance of a couple being a little more familiar than they ought to have been and I believe both were expelled. I certainly know the boy was. The net result for us boys was that there were no longer girls in the main house, and much more important we now had to clean the house on our own!!!

On the list of teachers I see that Mr Grieve is not listed. While I was there he taught science in the lab that was outside and up a little hill from the back door. The proverbial bike shed was behind it. Anyway I remember science lessons there, especially on cold winter days. In the lab was a coke fire and somehow my science lesson always seemed to coincided with the moment when he would open the fire doors, letting both the heat and light into the room. I never learnt any science, but I did love science lessons on a cold winter's day.

In those days we had real winters and real snow. And much more important, and certainly much more fun, we had sledge races down the science lab slope. A sheet of rusty corrugated iron, turned up at the front and six ( sometimes more ) screaming pupils racing down that hill. It was quite easy to sledge to the back door. And that was really frowned upon and we got no end of rows as a consequence because that area would virtually become an ice rink. The teachers did not always appreciate how impossible it was not to race down that hill and up to the back door when it had snowed. It was a constant battle between "You must not!!" and "How can we possibly resist!!". However the real challenge was to get past the back door, past the cellar and coal bunker and onto the road to the sports fields. I can't remember if I ever achieved it, but many did and some got quite far towards the sports fields. The actual races were a bit more dangerous since it was not a very wide road up to the lab and therefore careering into one another was a virtual certainty. However, bruised, cut, bleeding and being very cold had no impact on the incredible joy on sledging down the science lab slope in winter.

Jessie Gilchrist mentions the Shakespeare play. She is quite right, we performed "Twelfth Night" and it would have been in either 1961 or 1962. As mentioned, the stage was enormous. It reached out to very nearly the entrance into the main hall. I assume the stage must have been built by the technical department, and it must have taken them some time to build it let alone erect it. In addition the stairs were also used, so that the combined acting area was colossal. I believe every pupil was given a part in it. It was truly a whole school experience. I was an attendant ( a non-speaking one I was told ) but this attendant found it very difficult not to speak. So I believe on the last performance I was placed well out of sight and hearing. I believe we performed the play around 2 to 3 nights and performed it in front of our parents, friends etc. I do remember the costumes. I donšt know who made them, but they were really quite impressive. As I say I was supposed to be basically a statue, but my costume was really very grand for someone who is hardly seen and was not supposed to talk. I don't remember the other costumes but I believe they were also equally impressive and clearly a lot of time had been spent on them. I believe the rehearsals, or at least some of them, were carried out during the day time. Rehearsals certainly took place during the day time and I am sure it was not at weekend so it might well have been, that for a period of time, formal classes were put on-hold. It was also the first time that I remember us being allowed to congregate at the top of the stairs, aside from us normally not being allowed on the stairs at all that was also where the Grieve's apartment was. So for a period we were all up at the top of the stairs gossiping and lounging all over the place. At normal times that might well have been a slippering offence and it did not take much for something to be a slippering offence. I believe that was the only play we did while I was at LMS.

My time at LMS was also the time of the crystal radio and Sputnik. Portable radios, at that time, were valve radios and some were about the size of small one-arm-bandits. The world of the transistor had yet to arrive and the electronic radio was not even a twinkle in its Daddy's eye. The portable radio's main problem, aside from the weight to carry them about, was that you were not able to disguise them, so easily, under your pillow and listen to Radio Luxemburg. So the crystal radio was, in some ways, much more popular. The real joy of the crystal radio was disguising the aerial wiring amongst the heating pipes so no-one would see you had your radio with you. We were not supposed to have them in the dorm. Some of us were also convinced that if we had an aerial placed in a particular way we would actually be able to receive the signals from the early satellites. Well we tried all sorts of aerial designs but somehow none of them worked. A somewhat disgusted Mr Grieve eventually informed us that we would never receive signals from the various satellites and suggested that we really ought to have known better. But we didn't. After all we were also the ones who were convinced that there were secret passages in LMS ( far too much Enid Blyton) and had gone round measuring the walls and corridors and pestered staff about the school until a very frustrated Mrs Grieve one day pointed out, at an assembly, that there were no secret passages in LMS.

As I say, it has taken me a week to remember just this. A week ago if someone had asked me what happened when I was at school I would have said I cannot remember anything. I was not a particularly popular pupil at school. I appear to have been much of a loner and so looking down the lists of pupils, all of whom I must have known, I can't seem to remember many. Some names are beginning to mean something, but I will need to work a bit more on it.

And so finally a little bit about what happened to me after I left. My parents had initially sent me to LMS because they thought there was something wrong with me. They were wrong, I was just lazy. However when I left LMS my father sent me to Skerry's, in Edinburgh, he was sure I would get qualifications there. After two years he gave that idea up. I had a few jobs in '65 but was fired from them all. So my father then informed me that he would no longer maintain me at home and I was to join the forces. Well I did not like the army uniform, and I could not swim so in 1965 I joined the Air Force. It was while I was there, particularly during my alcoholic years in Gibraltar, that I decided I wanted to do something with my life. After I left the Air Force I went to Night School and then to University and became a teacher and have been one ever since. "

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