Chapter 15

Just Thought I’d Tell You – Chapter 15

          It all seemed to end with the Failing or Passing of the Eleven-Plus.

All the teachers talked about it and our mothers told us we must pass It.   They neglected to tell us just what It was all about.

I can’t remember any one of us kids expressing apprehension about It.   My three cousins, Johnny, Jean and Elsie, who had all Failed and gone to Whitmore Modern in Hordern Road, let everyone know that they were glad and they didn’t want to become snobs, anyway.

Mom was suddenly taken ill, though she pretended she wasn’t too bad so that I wouldn’t be upset and Fail.

The whole class looked on the event as a means of getting or not getting a bike, or a watch, or whatever their rash mothers had conned their hard-pressed fathers into promising.   Mom, seeing how John Hyde and Alan Merrick were to be bought first-class Passing awards, said I could have a bike.   Dad said we’d see.   Mom, catching his mood and reasoning, said it wouldn’t be a new one, of course, but Dad would “do it up” for me.   That didn’t worry me:  we rarely had anything brand new.

Looking back, the Eleven Plus seemed to take place all on one day, but I suppose it took longer than that.   The exam was easy.   I was embarrassed because I seemed to finish each part of it before the others.   Then I fretted because nobody had told me what to do while I was waiting.   It was far too boring to go over it all again and, anyway, I knew that the answers I’d put were the only ones I could think of.

I never understood the reason for the test which asked the question –

“All CONS are WOTS.   All WOTS are GREMS.   What are GREMS?”

It was hard not to laugh.   I answered it, anyway.

Miss Evans made us use a pencil for all the answers and said to write very lightly.   I decided that was so she could rub out wrong answers and put the right ones in for the Favourites.   My suspicion was strengthened because one or two of them who I knew to be duffers managed to avoid the Secondary Modern.

I Passed but, then, I didn’t know what it implied . . .

* * * * *

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