Saturday, March 08, 2008

Oh How Times Change!

The internet is a remarkable place, you just never know what is going to happen next. Yesterday in my email I received a letter from a guy who i have not seen nor spoken to in over 30 years, Gary Rixon. At age 9 my parents moved to a small village in not far from Oxford in England. West Hendred boasted a population of about 300, and consisted of a pup 'The Hare' (my parents ran it), a shop and post office, a Church with a Vicar, and a primary school.

About 15 years ago I visited England for a week, and I have to say I was not impressed by what I found. I even made a pilgrimage to West Hendred. The church no longer has a vicar, the village school had long since closed, the Shop and Post Office gone, It was as if the very heart of the village had been removed.

The village schools headmaster Mr. Prossir had long since retired and I went to visit him. It was delightful to spend some time talking about the long and distant past.

My other destination was 'The Hare', boy the place had changed. Odd to walk into your 'home' and not recognize it. I had aranged to meet a very old friend Jim Spey. Jim was one of my heros growing up, a proud Scotsman, resplendent in Kilt and Dirk, with a Rosewood pipe in his mouth. Ex BBC reporter, ex code breaker, and connoisseur of Single Malt Whiskey. Jim had aged, but was still sprightly and engaging. It was two hours that I will always have fond memories of. It was this visit that provoked me to write a short story 'Death of a Country' which I will have to dig out and re-post.

Anyway, Gary apparently had run across this blog and wrote to ask if I was the same Simon Barrett. Better still he included a photo. A photo of the entire village school attendees taken in about 1965. In this day and age of classes overflowing with 35+ kids, and schools boasting pupils by the thousands it is sometimes nice to look back at the way it was.........

Yes folks that was the whole school, and the two teachers! For those of you interested, pictured in the photo are:

Back row left to right: Tina Hazel / Christopher Bullard? / Lucille Harris / Peter Robey / Anne Kearvill or Louise Harris / Michael Hislop / Mr. Prosser / Simon Barrett.

Middle row left to right: Gary Rixon / Aden Atkins / Robert Atkins / Mrs. Phillips / Charles Brewer / Brother of Gail North? / Gail North.

Front row left to right: Belinda Rogan / ? / Miriam or Susan Rogan / Jane Rogan / Barry Dwight.

Anyone know where these people are?


Bruce A. Bateman said...

1965 ayy? Let me guess...the year of your last haircut.

I notice you are giving Miss Gail North a squeeze, Simon. A bit precocious for 8.

Good luck finding your school mates!

Anonymous said...

...wait, wait a minute. Does this mean you were young once?