Memories of the Early Years of Saturday School. 200 Montpelier Road – Part 2.

By Diana Himsworth

Read Part 1 here

The years rolled by. Suddenly almost half of the Saturday School children had reached, or were nearing, the end of their primary school years – which meant compulsory sport on Saturdays.

Boarding Schools, Private Schools and Government Schools!!!

Several tutors stepped down,  in order to attend these events to support their children.

Very few of our Saturday School children entered  the adult philosophy classes.

And those that did, dropped out rapidly.

We simply did not/could not attend to their particular needs.

I found myself playing a more meaningful role in Saturday School.

Leonie, with help from Sarah James and my daughter Michelle, offered to continue the singing lessons – juggling private teaching in between.

I approached students in the Philosophy School who were happy to prepare and present an occasional lesson on a topic dear to their hearts.

The response was good.

When all else failed my dear mother and sister-in- law stepped in…..flower arranging, chocolate making, planting seedlings etc.

Mercifully at some point Christina Auerbach appeared on the scene with her brood of 3 and a variety of skills. Frances Marks offered drama. Jane Kruysse, pottery.

One thing that never changed was that EVERY lesson began in stillness and ended in stillness.

I kept a meticulous photograph album of the Saturday School children – dates of events and activities.

Sadly this disappeared.

This album would have been very helpful now! To jog my memory!

In those days the Philosophy School organised a Craft Market each year. This was to generate funds to beautify the School house.

What a happy day it turned out to be!

Parents, Grandparents and friends arrived in support.

Moyra (Palmer) Keane tried her hand at screen-printing… putting the 5 Sanskrit vowels onto white T/shirts.

How did we know that one needed to reverse the letters!  Or something!

I made a donation towards the ‘failures’ and gave these T/shirts to a friend Ella Dube for her son Petrus.

Petrus, aged 11, re-acted by telling his mother that he wanted to go to the School that taught this language.

He joined us the following Saturday. Petrus was our first African child.

Lawrence Stretton took a particular interest in his welfare – even to the point of investigating a bursary opportunity in a private school.

Sadly, his pitiful schooling up to that point prevented this from taking place.

Petrus died of  TB in his early teens.

Perhaps Petrus prepared us, in some way, for what was to follow!