Monday, April 17, 2006

Just a snippet from an email.

A lady who visited this blog wrote to me to tell me that she lived in the area that I'm writing about and that now she's taking an adult literacy course -- I think that shows how little education so many of us received at the school I'm writing about at the moment. But I must say that I also know some people who went on to make real careers for themselves later in life, so maybe it was just a few of us had the wrong teachers.

I should explain a word or two that the lady uses below. She speaks about 'scutting'. This was a 'game' we all played. A very dangerous game! It involved jumping onto the back or sometimes the side of a moving bus or truck and hanging on until the vehicle eventually stopped or slowed down enough for you to jump off. I remember one of my pals having to walk home for over 20 miles because the bus he'd jumped on one night didn't stop or slow down till it reached a village well outside of Dublin.

The other word she mentions is the 'buildings'. The Buildings, as they were known, were two blocks of flats facing each other in Corporation Street. They were sort of self enclosed with large iron gates at one end. The police seldom ventured in there because if they did the gates would be closed by the tenants and the police pelted with all kinds of missiles from the balconies. Think of a movie where you saw Alcatraz prison, and the tiers of cells with the railing running along the edge, but without the roof. Yes, and even the apartments themselves were about the size of those cells, yet whole families were raised in them. That's The Buildings. Pulled down now, thankfully. But good and very nice people lived there too. My next door neighbour was born there.

Anyway, here in part is what the lady wrote.

I was kind of Miss Doran’s favourite and she put me in charge of the class one

I had a plaster cast on my arm after a lorry went over it while I was
scutting. I was showing off with the plaster, looking for order and attention in
the class by banging the arm off the desk and the plaster cracked.

Another time in Rutland Street School, I was sending a love letter to Harry Bradley in the
boys’ school, which was separated from the girls’ school by a tin gate, when
Miss Piggot caught me. She made me and my cousin Jean go all around the boys’
school, reading the letter to all the classes. Well, we felt like proper

In the buildings, I remember my granny got a coin-slot television.
I think it was two hours you got for two shillings then. When the two shillings
went you couldbe in the middle of a thriller. Boris Karloff was on a lot and the
television would often go in the middle of it and we wouldn’t have two shillings
to watch the end.When the news came on, with Charles Mitchell reading it, if my
grandmotherwent to the toilet, one of us would have to stand in front of the
television. “I don’t want him seeing me going to the toilet,” she’d say. “He’s a
nosy gett!"

She mentions Miss Piggot. If you've ever heard of the Oscar-winning animated movie, "Give Up Yer Oul Sins", Miss Piggot was one of those responsible for helping to get that movie made. The kids in it were recorded as they related their stories as they'd learned them from their teacher. The kids are all Rutland Street kids and the sound on the movie was recorded in one of the classrooms in the school over 40 years ago. See it of you can, or even get the sound CD, it's very funny.

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