The New Year is traditionally a time for looking forward. But thanks to some old school reports from Shaw House Grammar School for Girls I found at my mother’s house, I have been looking back, all the way back to my teens…..
My English report does not bode well for my writing future. This one is from 1977. Achievement C+ Effort B. Helena is a bright and active member of this group, into which she has settled well. Her written work does not live up to the general impression she otherwise makes.
Rupert says that’s before I had him as an editor.
By 1978 things have improved slightly. Achievement A (no mark for effort). Helena shows a lively interest in English. She takes an active part in class work and enjoys discussion, reading and acting. Her written work is imaginative and mature.
The headmistress’s comment from 1977 perhaps has more in common with the present than I will admit.
Although Helena is a very mature girl in many ways, she is inclined to fuss and bother over minor matters. She seems to want to organise everyone about her, but I think she will soon find that other people are not always willing to be organised! If Helena would concern herself a little more with Helena alone, I am sure things would improve!
I don’t like people who end critical little sentences with punctuation marks. It’s almost as if they don’t really mean what they’re saying. Or they’re too scared to really stand behind what they’re saying.
When I read that out to Rupert he said it sounded like an exact description of Olivia and me. So the past is always part of the future.
Happy New/Old Year.
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2008
Did you grow up in Newbury?
Outside Newbury, we lived in several villages including Compton and when I was at Shaw House we lived at a farm called Home Farm about 10 minutes from town.
In 1961, at the end of my last school year, Onion Street Polytechnic presented me with document announcing that I was 48th out of the 50 spotty boys in class 5C. Today, the 48th notation is still a bleach burn mark and an inept retouch, which I had hoped would read as 23rd. My Dad was no fool and his belt was soon off. But he, and I, did learn something from that report. We learned the word “lackadaisical” which featured prominently in the head’s summing up.