Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I am not getting back to blogging as often as I intended but here I am again with another What If? and this is one that certainly could have made my life quite different in the long term.
I had attended a catholic school from just before the age of six until I was nearly 12 and I absolutely loved it there. I am not catholic and there were only 2 protestants in my class through the 6 years I attended Victoria Square (now Mercedes) College. I thought the nuns were wonderful teachers and lovely people as well and my one ambition was to go to the "BIG" school once I finished primary school level. I would have gone to the big school the year I was 12. I dreamed of going through to do my Leaving Certificate and perhaps even beyond that to university.
Towards the end of 1943 it was decided that all children (which included protestants of course) who attended the school would have to participate in catechism (religious instruction) classes. My mother was horrified at the thought as she definitely did not want me becoming a Roman Catholic. In her infinite wisdom she removed me from the school I loved and enrolled me at Perth College in Mount Lawley (a school run by the Church of England). It was quite a traumatic happening in my life as I did not enjoy attending the school although I did make 3 friends there with whom I enjoyed some good times during my school days. There was a shortage of teaching staff owing to WW2 and I did find that many of the teacher seemed to pay particular attention to the girls from the "better" families (those with money). My folks were comfortably off and dad was making a good living for us but I have always considered myself a quite ordinary person and hate snobbery of any kind. All this certainly changed my life as I couldn't wait to leave Perth College and made up my mind I would set out to do be an office worker and become a secretary (shorthand typist). Towards the end of my 2nd year at PC I found I would have to attend Perth College for at least another 2 years to achieve this end so pleaded with mum and dad to let me go to a commercial college. My pleading resulted in me in attending City Commercial College for a year when I was 14 where I obtained my Commercial Junior Certificate. I enjoyed it there and was actually offered a job as a junior shorthand teacher but being a rather shy person I didn't fancy having to be in charge of people possibly even older than myself. I found an excellent position in insurance and even spent 6 months working for the Commonwealth Government in Melbourne when I was 18. I have always been glad I learned shorthand and typing.
All the above sounds quite satisfactory but my big WHAT IF? is this: Had my mother not had this fear of me being converted to catholicism I would have spent all my school years at Mercedes and possibly even gone on to university. The strange thing is that through all 6 years at Mercedes my friend Shirley Ponsford (the other protestant student) and I always sat at the back of the classroom during the catechism lessons so surely if I was going to be converted it would have occurred anyway. I couldn't convince my mother of this fact and so my life was changed in quite a significant way. This may not seem a big What If? but it has always been at the back of my mind through the years and remains there still.

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