CHRIS WREIN

  • Having an older brother in the school I was prepared for many things such as teachers nicknames so I didn't fall into the trap of asking for teachers by names they may not necessarily have appreciated. I can't think of any teacher who didn't have a nickname.
  • It was also strange to see boys several years older than me whom I remembered from primary school years before.
  • It was very odd being called by my surname by (all male) teachers and other boys but, my brother being already in the school, many of the teachers were able to pronounce correctly my slightly peculiar surname.
  • I think the biggest early impression was when Henry Mills took assembly. Not only was he a very imposing figure but he also wore a gown. I was a bit disappointed he did not also wear a mortar board but I was always slightly in awe of him. I never spoke to him until the fourth year when those in 4K had to see him. I never was really sure of the point of the interview but I imagine it was because we were about to take our O Levels. We had another interview shortly after which seemed to be exactly the same.
  • When I was in the first year I had to see the School Secretary and was waiting outside her office when Henry suddenly appeared and put his hand on my shoulder in a rather paternal way as he wanted to go in first. I didn't dare say anything. At that tender age, for me it was a bit like standing next to a celebrity
  • Speaking of the secretary, I seem to remember she had been a tennis player of some distinction in her younger days (not that she was old then). Someone in my class tore his trousers and she sewed them up for him. I wondered whether he had had to take them off in front of her and how embarassing that would be. Sort of thing you'd give up a week's pension for now.
  • The only other females we saw were the school librarian, the dinner ladies and, for one year only, the German Assistant, Regina Steinwand. Her nickname was Frau Doris. She was invigilating for some exams in the hall once and I reckon some of the male teachers had been scrapping outside to decide who would sit next to her. I started doing German A Level the next year which included sessions with the German Assistant but, of course, by then she had gone. Ach, das Leben ist schwer!
  • I remember when Henry retired and the way he walked through the hall shaking hands with boys and said "cheerio" to us all. I also remember when he had to announce that one of the boys had died. He said it was a moment he had always hoped he he would never encounter in his career. He seemed very upset. I think that showed his very human side.
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