Letter of the Day | How August Town has changed!
THE EDITOR, Sir:
Nostalgia! Monday morning devotion at August Town Primary was conducted by Principal Bonner and supported by a cadre of teachers ready for the process! Military straight lines of children, boys in khaki with sharp seams on the shirt sleeves and in their pants; girls in freshly starched uniforms, blue ribbons, blue socks and black shoes.
They were armed with the red school hymnal and the blue Holy Bible and the usual Monday morning hymn All Things Bright and Beautiful. This was usually watched by a throng of parents.
Jump to Friday morning! Spelling, recitation, homemaking and gardening. The occasional 'scull school and go to river' day! Oh, yes! I must mention the few 'Friday Fights'. When someone did something to you during the week, the response was usually, "Watch mi an yuh Friday!" Most times these were, however, thwarted by the perceptive principal, and we wondered how he knew about the planned fight!
You skipped or ran to school for 'fear' of two things: the bell stopped ringing before you got there and, of course, the principal's strap!
The staple for lunch was bulgur rice and corned beef or wholewheat dumpling and corned beef, nutri-patty, nutri-bun and milk.
Arguably the best times at school were recess and lunchtime! My memories!
Forty-plus years later, walking towards an entrance that now boasts a big iron gate with a guard (one of my old classmates) and security fencing all around, I felt a little chill of apprehension at the lost of my childhood euphoria.
But this is the new reality. The reality now is that any morning devotion can be turned into a debacle as the sound of gunshots disturb the sacred moment of praise, prayer and thanksgiving to God for yet another day.
The playground, in the blink of an eye, can be converted into a battlefield! How does a child now leave this stage of development with joy-filled nostalgia? The prevailing situation of two murders and a curfew must serve only to heighten fears and trepidation in our children as they return to school for a new term.
It is hard to imagine that the psychological comfort and safety that I experienced in this school from age six to 12 being true for the current cohort of children. This against the background of the sporadic outbreak of gun violence that has almost become the norm in the community. We need to help our children!