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30 April 2005 at 10:21

the happiest days



Every Monday was Cadet Force day at my school. It's easy to spot me in the photo - my mother wrote a note for me every week: "Dear Major Carruthers, please excuse my son from wearing his military uniform, as it irritates his acne."

Lex Dowie, seen here immediately to the right of the teacher, was once called upon in his capacity as class captain, to officially witness me receiving the beating of a lifetime. Mr Stuart the history teacher wielded the belt with an enthusiastic two-handed, over-the-head woodchopper's swing, his feet lifting off the ground with each stroke. The rest of the class were sent out of the room first, perhaps to add to the sense of drama. After the first couple of strokes, Lex had to help the teacher by holding my unwilling hands out for more. I don't know who was more traumatised, Lex or me.

Blogger hotboy said...

Hi!
I'm going to have to read it all!! HotboyMadyamikaS.O.B.  

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Blogger robmcj said...

Hotboy, thanks for the comment. I called it the beating of a lifetime, but I've remembered I have actually had several beatings of a lifetime, somebody else's life must be missing their share. Maybe there's scope for a spin-off blog. Anyone have any suggestions for a name?  

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Blogger hotboy said...

The photie of the schoolboys is interesting as you don't look anything like that at all. However, the photie of wonder woman was much more interesting and I think you should post more pictures of good looking women. Hotboy  

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Blogger Cathy said...

I'm pretty cute... wanna post a picture of me in your blog? Maybe you can superimpose my head on the teacher in the middle. What do you say? The end. Love, Cathy xxx/ooo  

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Blogger robmcj said...

Cathy, how sporting of you! I can photoshop you in, I never liked th eteacher anyway. Where can I find a picture of you?
robmcj  

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Blogger hotboy said...

Got to this using Google!(Mon 2nd May) Great!
Also, I've learned that you're supposed to reply to comments as you have. Didn't realise that. Of course, fung idiot me. Hotboy  

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Blogger hotboy said...

Do you live in Antartica? Where are the Heard and McDonald Islands. After ten minutes, I'm still in nowhere land. Hotboy  

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Anonymous Lex said...

Hello Robert,

I've got over my surprise and realise who you are now. Also, something's tweaking at the back of my memory about the tawse, but "Stuart" ??? Why the Heard and McDonald Islands - another new discovery for today?  

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Blogger robmcj said...

Lex! Great to hear from you. Amazing you found your way to this page. Maybe you were Googling for your own name. Do you like the photo? There's another one here.

I recall you as a good rugby player, and a fair-minded class captain, prefect etc., unaffected by the pettiness and personal vendettas that some prefects liked to pursue.

I came to The UnHeard Of Islands to escape the rat race and various hangers on.

Yes, Mr Stuart (spelling may have been Stewart, or I may even have his name wrong, understandable since he did after knock the stuffin out of me) was a new history teacher, taking our class in Jimmy Jope's room. He was anxious to make his mark, and after enduring days of idoicy by myself and Murray Magowan, he just snapped and decided to make an example of me.

I'm glad to see the experience hasn't scarred you, or maybe it's just safely repressed? The therapists say I'll be over it in another 10 years or so.

Let me know how you are going etc.?

Regards, robmcj.

PS I never normally use people's real names here, but I realise that I did use your real name in the story. Apologies. Let me know if you'd like me to change it.

PPS "Bill Howie", referred to elsewhere in this blog, was also at school with us.  

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Anonymous Lex said...

Yes, I don't make a habit of it, but I was showing my 80 year old father the internet, and googled my name as I knew some stuff would come up and he'd know what it was about. I didn't recognise the hit so checked it out - and was pretty amazed. What on earth is the random picture of the fat football player about?
Using the name is ok. I guess the reference to "Mary Hopkin" must be an alias though. Good story.
Thanks for the character reference. I remember you as a bright cheerful guy, friendly with Colin Miller, whom I also liked, good at maths and science, and sometime class captain (as well), which is why you're sitting on Thornton's right in the fifth form cadets picture, and on Lachie's right as well in the earlier one.
According to the CIA the Unheard Of Islands are uninhabited. Is this a new colony, or what? Does everyone there take old class photos with them?
The Howies were Iain and Robert, cousins from Ayrshire, and George, unrelated, who served his time in the boarding house, poor sod. Don't recall Bill Howie. Do recall Bill Patrick who seems to have vanished into the ether somewhere almost immediately after school, like several others. I don't exactly distance myself, but don't actually strive to keep in touch either, so am not what you'd call a reliable source. Looks like you're probably the stone that rolled the furthest, and has picked up some interesting moss.
Try email if you like. lexdowie@lycos.co.uk  

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Anonymous Lex said...

PS Correction Lachie's left! Must have been vice captain. Would that everything in life were so orderly.  

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Blogger robmcj said...

Lex! Great to hear from you again.

Yes, I still see Colin whenever I'm back in the green city. And "Bill Howie" is rhyming slang for the chap who lived on the island on Loch Lomond. He was in the navy section too. I'll email you the correct story.

I've just had a flash of a memory - you and I, and I think Charlie Brown, spent an evening in a pub in Campbelltown, when we were living on a puffer in the Clyde for a week one summer. We must have been aged 15 or 16. You, being tallest, kindly agreed to order the drinks.

For a week we lived on bread and lemon curd in the hold of that old fishing trawler. Drunk every night, then lulled to sleep by the rocking of the boat. Those were the days.

My secret's out - I actually live on the biggest UnHeard Island, the natives call it Australia.
Yes, I fear moss isn't the only thing I've picked up. I'm on my second New Zealand woman (and this had better be the last one). I also have an over-developed imagination at times. But I wasn't imagining the cancer I picked up 20 years ago, touch wood. I've been badgered to tell the whole gory story here, with photos, but so far I'm resisting.

If you think keeping the old class photos is sad, I have a 1986 class reunion photo too. And what about this: you remember the annual general knowlege quiz at school? My mother kept every one of my quiz papers, and for years whenever we met she would bring out the papers and run through the questions (and my original answers) again. I think she was hoping that one day I'd finally get all the questions right.

Yes, come to think of it I was indeed good at physics, my favourite subject. So much promise - you'd think I'd at least be able to do the quiz right.

I'll email this to you in case you don't see it here.  

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Blogger Gordon W said...

Saw this blog when googling for "Jimmy Jope" as I received an email from the school to inform me that he died on Wednesday and his funeral is tomorrow ( Saturday 9th Feb 2007). I was in his class for Maths and, of course, Detention - can still recall the man's amazing banter such as when asking for jotters to be handed in..."BR to SBR...SBR to SFR...SFR to FR" ie. Back Row to Second Back row - I take it you can work out the rest despite your formative education!

I noted the photograph ( Happiest Days ) - I did not join the school until 1969 in Miss Johnstones Prep5 although my eldest brother John Wallace and my cousins Robin, Bruce and Graeme Mitchell may have been around your vintage.
Happy days
Kindest regards
Gordon Wallace
Glasgow Academy 1969 - 76  

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Blogger robmcj said...

Gordon - thanks for the news, sad though it is. He must have lived to quite a ripe old age?

PS - Is Saturday really the 9th with you? Here it's the 10th. Did Jimmy Jope teach maths? ;-)  

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