It’s on days like this during the school holidays that Mother and I used to go on our ‘little school viewing’ expeditions. I was obsessed with schools, as a kid. Maybe I should make this clearer, I was obsessed with looking in the windows of schools. (When I was at school, I always rather liked looking out the windows and longed for the days to end and the weekends and holidays to come.)
We always seemed to bring a small picnic with us ~ cream crackers, and a bottle of homemade lemonade.
Recently, I was passing Knockmahon School which is just outside the village of Bonmahon on the Copper Coast. I couldn’t resist having a snoop around and those days with Mother came flooding back, including the fear that someone would appear with a cane and ask what the hell I was doing there!
The school is a beauty, built up on a hill:
It was built in 1956 and would have been new by my ‘childhood’ standards.
This style of building with the circular shed was one I knew all too well, having been to four different national schools during my transitory youth. None of the sheds, where we sheltered during wet break/sus/recess times had a mural, though, like this one in Knockmahon has:
The kids obviously still play hopscotch in Knockmahon School but they don’t have to draw out the squares like we used to. (Yes, I did have a little hop around while I was there!)
I did my best to get a good look inside but it wasn’t that easy with the blinds on the windows. However, I caught glimpses of familiar looking tiny chairs from my son’s time in junior schools. I rather miss the old fashioned double wooden desks with the inkwells that were a fundamental part of my experience.
But, how I loved the little posters on the door of Knockmahon School which say so much about its ethos and philosophy and what school should be all about:
Just look at all those things that you are when you enter the school … friend, writer, mathematician, musician, artist, musician, scientist.
Every single school has its own personality and personalities. Every single school has its own history and I suspect, every single school has people like me
trespassing looking around with a bagful of memories.