1937-43 RUTH CAREY NÉE MILLS

I came to Fawcett in the Autumn Term aged twelve in 1937. My youngest brother aged fourteen had died of Rheumatic Fever two months before, so going off to boarding school so soon after his death was quite a shock. There had been four Mills cousins before me, and also my sister Rosemary.

As I look back on my time in Fawcett I realise how lucky I was to have been sent there, as after the first year of settling in I was very happy and loved school. Eva although she was not motherly was a splendid Housemistress, at first I was very much in awe of her, but respected her, and as time went on I grew fond of her and kept in touch with her after I married right up to the end of her life. I remember she once came and had supper with my husband and I, and she told me to call her Eva. I found this a bit difficult at first!

There are so many memories that come back to mind, for example we had to have our temperatures taken for the first three weeks of term before breakfast, and on Saturdays we had our nails inspected, I don’t think Little Sit, the top most senior girls in the House, liked that much! Big Sit which the rest of the house used was quite a cosy room – we had a fire burning in the grate (no central heating) and there were two sofas, which as you grew a bit more senior you were able to sit on. I remember there was a picture on the wall with the names of all the House written on it in order of seniority and when you got into the school Choir, won your red girdle, got into school teams etc., letters were put after your name so by the time we left school you were bound to have some letters.

At weekends, we were never bored. There was Church of course on Sundays and after lunch we read our books and then went for a walk – then back to the House to write our home letters. After tea we all sat down to darn our brown lisle stockings and then make Mission garments whilst Eva read to us, which she did very well.

In Eva’s last term I was head of Big Sit and I thought we should give her and “Little Sit” a party – so I got my parents to send me some goodies to my day girl friends who passed them on to me; no doubt my friends did the same. We also put on a play called “Elegant Edward” which we did in the dining room and Dido was Burglar Bill, and she made her escape by the food lift in the room before the curtain fell. I think it was all quite a success.

When Polly came, she was quite different from Eva. Very gentle and quiet, but she also was a very good Housemistress and she kept in touch with us all long after we had left school. Both Eva and Polly really dedicated their lives to us and I shall always be very grateful to them both.

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