We had that school motto drummed into us for 7 years and I'm fairly sure that none of us really understood what it meant even when we left. If you google that Latin phrase, it takes you straight to the Wikipedia page of the prison of my formative years, Wolverhampton Girls' High School. In fact, the only references Google seems to find for that phrase are to WGHS so I do wonder whether it's a motto the school invented. It's been on my mind lately because, through the wonderful medium of Facebook, we discovered on Monday that our beloved Latin and French teacher died at the weekend and the news immediately got me thinking back to how awful we were to him. We gave him such a hard time and apparently he still spoke of us fondly. How bad do we feel now?
|Mr Royston - a true legend, source of much|
hilarity and permitter of
surreptitious banana eating
|Colditz or WGHS? But I'd still send any|
daughter of mine there.
Our Latin & French teacher wasn't a beacon of normality within a prison of weirdness. Far from. But he was a very nice bloke. Very softly spoken, very shy and very kind and as, a consequence, bullied by us. He's the only teacher who ever let me eat a banana in class and on the day I left he handed me a huge leather-bound 100 year old Latin dictionary which he'd inscribed with something I still can't translate to this day. I went on to do Latin as part of my degree but I've always been spectacularly rubbish. Not due to his teaching though, I have to say. Clearly I was inspired by him. Either that or the knowledge that my final year at uni would consist of 3 hours a week and that was on a Monday. It does make you wonder why some people want to do medicine when they could do Latin.
This really is sort of an homage to a lovely man who taught a bunch of girls who are quite upset about his death 22 years after last seeing him. As someone posted - "Kids - be nice to your teachers as its only when its too late do you really appreciate how fab they were". It's so true. Teenagers are possibly amongst the most evil creatures on the planet. I know, I've seen them getting the train home from Salisbury.
Anyway, there's a very fine rendition of the school song on You Tube. This was recorded in 2010 but still gives you an idea of how truly dreadful it was. Their voices are better than ours were and they don't stamp their feet. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=kEaVSLBphik&NR=1
Bizarrely, I have known the words off by heart for the last 29 years which is scary and the same amount of time as I have known the words to Billy Joel's Uptown Girl.
I'd still send any daughter of mine there. Watch out Molly!