I started at CVTHS in 1965 a day early, thanks to my mother getting the start date wrong. I travelled all the way from Albany Park on the 229 bus and did wonder why it was devoid of other school kids. I met by Mr. Gardener (?) the Caretaker on the main driveway and he told me to go away and come back tomorrow.
On my return next day, I found my way to the main hall where all the names were called out of the first years and they were led off to their respective classes. When it came to '1P' the master said 'All those left, come this way'. I followed only to find that I was not on the register for 1P, nor any of the other first year classes either. Mother was slow at getting the paperwork in, not a good sign for any future homework, it would appear... My Form Master was a balding Irishman called 'Paddy' Wedlock. I liked him and he made life at school bearable. He taught English for the five years I was at CVTHS.
I was never academic at CVTHS, wasn't much good at anything else either. I just kept my head down and avoided the bullies, oh yes we had those in the sixties alright.
I do remember being inspired by Drama class, I believe it was Mr Mussell for Drama. I appeared in three school plays. I had briefly hoped that I could force myself upon the acting industry when I left school after my one 'O' level, but was already working for the W.H.Smith bookstall at Albany Park station. I was engaged on a full time basis at £8.00 a week, a veritable fortune in 1970. I transferred to the new Woolwich branch in 1973 and worked at various branches in Kent and S.E. London until I joined Geographers' A-Z Map Company in 1985. Over the last 30 years I have been a sales rep and covered portions of Surrey, Berkshire, West Sussex, S.E. London and currently cover Kent.
My joy of drama re-emerged in 1983 when I wrote a short pantomime for the staff Christmas party, then followed several more Christmas shows, even after joining A-Z. I joined Borograds (Borough Green Amateur Dramatic Society) in 2008 and have appeared in many shows and pantomimes. It's not Hollywood, but it'll do.
The map industry struggles to stay alive in this new digital world of satnav and free information, but I have always had a stubborn streak and kind of like the whole human contact business.
I now have a daughter who has just started university in Bath, which is something that neither my wife nor I achieved in our younger lives. Back in July 1970, I was proud to receive at CVTHS prize day, an award for my achievement in Drama class. The master at the time was Mr. Mussell. When asked what I would like as a prize, most students chose educational equipment such as slide rules or an expensive compass set, my choice was a Corgi Green Hornet toy car. The office staff hadn't a clue as to what I meant, so I was called to the school office and given a ten shilling note and told to go and buy one and bring it back with the change for wrapping up ready for presentation. I still have that car in its box, the current eBay price is around £495.00, thank you very much.
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was a big hit too. I could not afford one in 1965, my father had died by then and my mum brought me up on her own. The retail price of 8/11 was beyond us. She may have had her faults, but she did get her priorities right, there was always food on the table. When I left school and earned my own money, I found that I was still unable to afford the car on the second hand market at £90! After a few years I was able to trade some amassed Star Trek collectable items for said U.N.C.L.E. car in a box with the prized Waverley Ring. Again, the price and interest on such and item has risen and the current price exceeds £400, a veritable pension pot in the front room.
As we move through life, priorities change, sometimes we like to hold on to childish things. They bring comfort and remind us of simpler times. I now have a garage full of such things that I have collected over the years. Most of it is slowly making its way on to eBay. Some of it, not Green and not UNCLE . My wife for Christmas, bought me a record player. Now out of the garage come all my LPs and 45s. Sometimes, just sometimes, life is a circle.
Mmmm, now have I got any Elton John?