Like all friends, we should swop stories from our libraries of our lives – the funny, the surreal as well as the sublime. What use are books in a library unless we on occasion dust them off and page through the long forgotten episodes of our lives. Many hoped that by enlightening us with their Life Stories that their obligations to their class mates, would be fulfilled. Instead to kickstart the process, I have tapped a number of the class of 71 to contribute their stories.Continue reading
According to an intermediary who I was using to contact Jammie, he professed to be a “very private person“. Hence he was hoping that by ignoring me, I would just disappear. Like an irritating fly, I would buzz around periodically making my presence known. Then one day, out of the blue, he relented. He announced in a telephone call that he would talk. In providing him with examples of the other reports and interviews I was hoping that he would relent and provide me with a peek in the man himself, what motivated him and perhaps even reveal an amusing incident or two, but it was not to be. Instead what he provided was a straight telling of his career at Alex. More’s the pity. Hence Jannie will remain an enigma to me. Nonetheless, I would like to thank Jannie profusely for producing a thorough professional report.
Naturally Jannie’s report is written in the first person but wherever I have elaborated on his report, it will be in the third person.
Main picture: Jannie and Joan Fourie in 1995Continue reading
Not many of us can, at the end of a school day, congratulate ourselves on having prevented, among other things, one or two cakes from being burnt, a Standard 6 pupil from being electrocuted, and a “patient” from “missing” an unpleasant lesson. Mrs. Maggs is one of the fortunate (or unfortunate) people who can.
The author of this article is unknown.
Main picture: Mrs. Maggs in 1971Continue reading
As I was unable to track down any of Mr. Simms’s surviving relatives, what better way than to utilise a brief biography of Mr. Simms written by his sister, Mrs. Maggs in 1971.
Main picture: Mr. Simms in 1971Continue reading
The one thing that I recall about Paul is his endeavour to make us understand poetry by writing some ourselves. In attempting to do so, I soon realised writing poetry was more difficult than one anticipated.
Every biography is different. For me the most satisfying have been the one-on-one interviews such as with Flippie as they provide an insight into the real person. In most cases, the best that was possible was an interview with a surviving spouse such as Fay Welsh or the children of Cordingley. Paul’s was completely different in that I was given a typed biography. Even without a verbal interview, one aspect of the man shines through and that is his humanity and a gentle spirit.
This is the autobiography of Paul Ellis.
Main picture: Farewell from Muir in December 1992Continue reading
After 50 years the old Flip, or is that young Flip, instantly makes his presence felt. Within 30 seconds the serious tone belies a flippant comment meant to amuse and sometimes confuse the real from the unreal. Then comes the warning to me as I commence the interview: All replies must be taken with a boulder of salt. To expose the real Flip, I might have to interview “the girl”, now his wife of 50 years, Renée.
Personally for me, three attributes define Flippie. If one could capture the essence and bottle it, they would be the car, the girl and witty tongue-in-cheek over-the-top statements and mannerisms.
Instead of a formal style I have adopted Flip’s flippant style. But in order to obtain a measure of balance, I have allowed Flip to write the captions to the photos.
Main picture: Na 36 jaar. “I have lost my class”Continue reading
At 87, Kathy Sutton is as energetic and spritely as ever. With barely a pause, she will elaborate why Alex was such an excellent school and Cordingley such as superb boss and person. She concedes that she never had to endure the caning that he administered but that was a different era.Continue reading
This blog was written by the pupils of the Class of 1971 themselves. It would be great to hear from everybody. Two photos of Then and Now would also be super. There are no rules about how much or how little you would like to share or indeed what you would to include. The latest submissions will be included at the top of the blog thereby making the unread entries at the top of the blog.
Main picture: Montage of Class of ’71’s Assembly & Service Program as well as the Valedictory Address and Signatures [Thanks to Sonia Slement (Venter)]Continue reading
In the photograph of the original staff of Alexander Road High School, is the visage of the lanky teacher of Geography, Bob Welsh in the front row. Bob never demanded respect from his pupils but rather he earned it. In many ways Bob was a more progressive teacher and the antithesis of certain senior teachers at the time. By evoking an interest in the subject, pupils responded in a like manner enabling Bob to teach with a light touch seldom if ever submitted the pupils to tirades of screaming.
That is my enduring memory of Bob Welsh, a kind and gentle man, never given to histrionics.
Main picture: Alex staff members in 1956 [front row 2nd from left]Continue reading
Step into the Alex of today. No nostalgia here. What our grandchildren would see if they attended Alex now. Thanks to photographer extraordinaire, Margie Rudman, for the photos. I wonder what Cordingley would have done if he found Margie skiving off, not at her computer, and instead taking photos of the school?Continue reading