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Wester Hailes Primary School by David McMillan – Part Two

21st January 2021

(Continued from Part One)
It seems barbaric now that a child as young as 6 or 7 should be lashed over the hand with a leather belt but corporal punishment was routine then. If they had but known it was more a badge of honour than shame.
The only thing I really feared was school dinners – but irrationally, without ever actually tasting them. Perhaps it was the fact that they were cooked off-site and delivered in huge aluminium vats, while the leavings were scraped into a single container often left unattended outside the dinner hall – and who would have been unaffected by the sight of the random combinations of custard and gravy, half eaten sausages and jelly and mashed potatoes quietly congealing under the attention of a squadron of bluebottles? There was a feeling in my house that school dinners were for really poor, disadvantaged folk and that those who went home at lunchtime to a meal prepared by their mother were just a little bit further up the moral and economic slope. Once my mother had some emergency to attend to and I was advised by my teacher that just for that day I couldn’t go home but was offered a school lunch. All I can remember is the wretchedness and disappointment of it. (Continued in Part Three)

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