Monday, 11 November 2013


The blue door on the far right of the picture was one of a double-door
entrance leading to a staircase with direct access to the upper floors.
The doors referred to in the following tale were located a few feet with-
  in the alcove beyond the railing.  None of these buildings exist today  

WILLIE RUSSELL was how we referred to him at school.  A head
teacher, if I recall correctly, who had an emaciated, hawk-like appearance.
He was also a Justice of the Peace, and I suspect that the experience of having
people 'at his mercy' in court rather appealed to him.  He was possessed of a
severe, dour demeanour, and 'though I don't remember ever being in his
class, he struck me as rather an unpleasant person.

He confirmed it for me one day in the following manner, which is,
I think, the only time I ever had any direct experience of him in my entire
time at secondary school.  I was approaching the doors of 'New Block' and
caught sight of him coming up swiftly behind me in the refelection in one of
the door's glass panels.  I opened the door and stepped aside, showing
due deference to my elders as I had been taught by my parents.

However, because the doors were set in an alcove, I could only
stand back as far as the side wall allowed, which meant he would have
to detour around me by a couple of inches.  Instead, he grabbed me by the
shoulders and contemptuously flung me aside.  I stood, literally stunned by
the man's rudeness and aggression, as I watched him stride down the short
corridor beyond the doors and, as he turned the corner, glare back at
me through the thick-rimmed spectacles perched on his beak-like
nose as if I were a bad smell.

It was probably my experience of similar bad attitudes during the
impressionable years of my life, both in and out of school, that eventually
made me determined to stand up and confront behaviour of this kind when-
ever and wherever I encountered it.  Once upon a time, I was bewildered by
such misanthropic manifestations and didn't quite know how to deal with
them.  Nowadays, at the first sign of them, I tackle them head-on.  I
sometimes ponder whether that's a good or bad thing 'though.

THOMAS MORELL once said that "The first great gift we can
bestow on others is a good example."  I sometimes wonder what kind
of impression it would have left on my young psyche had some of my
teachers (and other adults) practised such a philosophy in their
day-to-day dealings with me.

I'm probably not the only one, eh?

Mr. Willie Russell, I believe


TwoHeadedBoy said...

Good on you for standing up to such rubbish nowadays - I'm getting there, but at the moment I can only repremand drunken folk and school kids.

It's a start though!

Kid said...

Alas, my days of being able to do so 'in the flesh' will undoubtedly dwindle as I get older, THB. My ability to confront such contemptuous behaviour towards me on the internet, however, will remain undiminished. Thanks for commenting.

TwoHeadedBoy said...

Well keep it up wherever it's necessary - life's too short for nob-ends.

Kid said...

And ain't that the truth. However, if they didn't target me, I wouldn't bother with them.

John Pitt said...

" SCHOOLTIME SCANDALS - PART 6 and a half! "
His name was Jack Emery , our History master and a nasty piece of work , if ever there was one! One day he stormed in, fag-in-mouth, slammed the door behind him, banged a pile of exercise books with a gym shoe on top of them on the desk, then, without speaking scrawled something on the blackboard and turned and barked, " Get on with that in complete silence! " and sat down to grumpily mark his books. During the course of the lesson someone, somewhere whispered, "psst". His head shot up, he glared at me ( he hated me ) and said, "Right, Pity, out here. I'm going to give you a beating, boy!" " Please Sir, it wasn't me!" , I protested, but it made no difference, he wasn't going to bring the slipper into the room and leave without using it! He had been itching for an opportunity, we could see he was in a foul mood. Oh well, better on my well-leathered arse than on some of the boys! Yes, school-days - the best days of your life! ( don't get me started on MY school-days! )

Kid said...

Some teachers were proper psychos, eh, JP? Thankfully, that sort of thing isn't allowed nowadays (I trust).

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