Things were changing out at Ogilvie School, there weren’t many students there and the education department had been threatening to shut it down. For most of my time in primary school, I was the only one in my class except for part of Grade 2 and Grade 3. The school had about 20 students when it was busy, then 11 towards the end of Grade 6. Also the school bus run was changing, I was the only one getting on to go to Ogilvie as Peter and Bobbo had gone away to boarding school at St Patrick’s College. So, mum and dad decided to send me into St Mary’s catholic school in Northampton for Grade 7 and 1st Year.
So I could catch the bus in town, mum had to drive me 5 miles down the road to my cousins, Kerry, Vicky and Gaylene Cripps’ bus stop. Mum didn’t have her drivers license, so she had to get it quick smart to be able to drive on the main road, which at that time was gravel.
I had a bit of trouble adapting. There were now 5 students in my class and only girls, although we were mixed in with Grade 5, 6 and 7. About 80 or so were at the school, ranging from Grade 1 through to 3rd Year. I did have my cousins there, so they looked out for me and helped me along for a bit. Especially the older cousins, the Woodcock girls, Val and Maureen.
Sister Goretti was our teacher and she was just the best. I often catch up with her now at different events in Geraldton and she hasn’t changed. Still with the same Irish accent. She was very good at settling differences. I remember having a run in with one of the girls in my class, who would bully me around, mostly verbally, and Sister Goretti intervened this day and made us shake hands. I wish I wasn’t so timid and spoke up for myself, but mostly it was someone being unkind and if I retaliated, then I was being unkind to them. That’s just how I roll.
It was at St Mary’s that I learnt to play the piano with Sister Anthony as my teacher. She was so nice and one time we spent ages at my lesson, she was helping me to ‘compose’ a few bars to send into the ABC Children’s Hour. I’ve not idea what happened to it or if it got mentioned on air. I was never really a piano player although mum and dad did buy a piano for me to learn on. It was only after mum and dad had died, that I had the piano at my home and we just sold it a few years ago.
I turned 13 while I was at St Mary’s. I’d never had a birthday party, but this year my cousin Kerry came over. My birthday was always in the May school holidays and mum and dad gave me a marquesite watch, my first ever watch. I still have it although it doesn’t work.
I loved my sport and played basketball (known as netball now). Our team were champions in 1967.
Next week, off to boarding school!!