|The teachers' table sat in front of (and parallel to) the stage|
I was rather shy and introverted as a primary school
pupil and didn't mix well with my fellows. Back in my day,
to anywhere in the school by saying "Take!", and clasping the
ever part of the school we were led by the teacher.
playground emptied as the throng of kids made its way
into the corridor outside the dining hall, pairing off while
awaiting permission to enter. (I'm unsure why we were in
the playground at dinnertime, but we were. Perhaps we
were the second wave of hungry diners that day.)
pair off with - for two reasons. Firstly, no one picked me,
and secondly, I was just too shy to put myself forward. My
brother found me lurking in the corridor and enquired why I
wasn't in the hall filling my face. I explained my situation and
he took me to see Mr. Curry, the janitor. Wishing to avoid
embarrassing me by saying "He's too shy to go into the hall
by himself", he just said "He was at the far end of the
playground and didn't hear the dinner-bell."
Mr. Curry took me to the door of the hall, opened it
and actually whistled to the teachers sat at the 'top table'.
Mr. Halliburton, the depute head looked over, and Mr.
Curry nodded at me in a contemptuous manner. "Didn't
hear the bell," he explained as Mr. Halliburton came
over, in a tone which suggested "a likely story".
Without saying a word, Mr. Halliburton grabbed me by
the back of my collar and, no exaggeration, my feet barely
scuffed the stairs as he ascended to his classroom on the top
floor. There, he administered several strokes of 'the strap',
with such severity I had the wind knocked out of me. Then
he dragged me back down to the hall and said to one of
the dinner ladies "Give this boy his food!"
|Ignore the doorway on your left. It was the doorway to the side of|
it on your right from which Mr. Curry hailed Mr. Halliburton
I'll choose my next words very carefully.
What a nasty, sadistic b*st*rd! No sympathy,
no empathy, no clue about how to deal with kids who were
a bit self-conscious or introverted. How he was ever allowed
to be a teacher, never mind a headmaster (as he later became)
remains a complete mystery to me. I met him at various times
in my teenage and adult years, and though I was always per-
fectly polite to him, I never forgot the appalling way he had
punished my 7 year-old self for merely being a bit shy and
lacking in confidence. Schoolkids today don't know
just how fortunate they are, that's for sure.
One of his two sons was in my class in secondary
school, and I always felt a bit sorry for him. Not that he
was a sad individual or anything like that, but I have the im-
pression that he copped a fair bit of grief simply for being his
father's son. Mr. Halliburton hadn't been well-liked by quite
a number of pupils, and poor Neville would've had that sit-
uation to deal with, unfortunately. Probably the opposite
of his primary school days I imagine, when none of his
classmates would've dared touch him for fear of in-
curring his pater's sadistic and unholy wrath.
I last saw Mr. Halliburton around 9 years or so ago,
but he was pretty ancient and I'd be surprised (though
undismayed) to learn that he's yet alive. If it's not already
happened, it won't be long until it's Mr. Halliburton's turn to
see 'The Headmaster'. I'm not so bitter over my experience
though, that I'd begrudge him being accorded the under-
standing, insight, and mercy that he seemed incapable
of displaying towards his unfortunate pupils.
Hey, maybe I'm a better person than I thought.
Incidentally, there's a subsequent incident involving
Mr. Halliburton where I defied his attempt to punish me
again. I'll tell you Criv-ites all about it another time.