Saturday, 1 June 2002

Past Masters

First, although my name at PSSW was Mazzeo, for many years my surname has been Pennington and from that has come the dreaded initials PP, the scourge of many an official whose only word is 'no'. So that gets that out of the way. I was driving back this week from DC (I live in West Virginia) and Diane Rehms on Public Radio had dedicated a whole section to reminisences of past teachers. Only the night before I had read for the first time this message board so I used the time on I-70 to think of my time at Peter Pips (57-64). I saw the notes about Mr Perkins. To us he was Perky. Next door to him was Ozzy Osbourne in the Woodwork Room. I walked in from IIIp proudly intent on making a Sheraton bookcase or the like. After nine months and having whittled out every mistake I had a lopsided six inch long spade scraper with a miscentred hole. Thanks to Ted Taverner I know all the capitals of South America and the population of Australia as it was in 1959 and that cocoa beans come from cacao , or was it the other way round. Jack Northeast was never able to get me to draw a BEA Vanguard that didn't have lopsided wings and Pa Watts did teach me the difference between the Beaker People in Round Barrows, or was it Long Barrows, and the non Beaker People who lived in long barrows or.....  Tom Pearce beat into me 110 British birds from those dreaded cards that would appear high up on the wall in his room - but now I am active in both the RSPB and the Audubon. Hetty taught me German. Well, I think he did because one day we had a visitor from Germany and it slowly dawned on us that neither the visitor or Hetty understood a word of what the other was saying. But it didn't matter as we used that class to discuss politics and we sat there one day waiting for a nuclear bomb to drop on us as Kennedy and Kruschev went eyeball to eyeball over Cuba. I suppose I should think of Neddy Bray and either maths (with a slipper) or P.T. but all I can think of is that pea green soup called the swimming pool. Anyway I was in Northbrook and we were only good at crosscountry and chess. The first because we all lived well away from Winchester and there was the 47 bus to catch and the only game one could play on the bus was chess ( or grabbing berets off the County High girls). After 56 years I now know that I have to know why before doing anything. I never knew why I had to know that sinsquaredA+ cosquaredA = 2sinA cosA so Chalky White was pushing against a tough load. As was Ron Brown in physics all though two years of misery doing physics was well worth it when Chris Herridge arrived late in class and Ron roared 'Why are you late?' only somehow the emphasis got shifted from 'late' to 'you' and the 'late' sounded more like 'last'.. Chris repled with good sound Einstein logic that somebody is always going to be last. The eruption was spectacular and worth my dodgy mark in A levels. I saw mention of Loch Ewe and Achnasheen. Ah, happy summer days in endless rain and with endless dead sheep. Jock Shields, who later had the priviledge of caning me, taught me latin for a year. The Romans in Gaul were in trouble and needed help but it was on its way. I knew the word started with re  something or other but I couldn't get the word out until I blurted out that Caesar had arrived with refreshments. Hey ho   PP

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