You there, come here. So you go there and immediately are sent back out for not asking permission to enter. You then are allowed in and get beaten two to four strokes for shouting with a rubber hose stolen from a Bunsen burner from the science room and the foreplay is over. Amongst other things I was told to grow through the hole in the carpet like a meallie. Then made to lie on the carpet whilst one of the prefects stood over me and dropped a shot putt catching it before it hit my face.
Then told to get lost which I rapidly did. The same type of thing applied to any other new boy who walked past. We all soon learned to walk the long way around to school. In my time at school most of the competitions hinged between Grey and Gaul. Nevertheless, the school provided many things to do and our plays were famous. The same applied to everything he did. The culmination of the first term was when the parents came down for sports week-end athletics , were housed, fed and entertained within the school, including the play, generally a musical with the younger boys playing the part of women and the older boys men.
The same applied to the athletics and whilst he may not of been in any of the events, he was everywhere else, raking the long jump pitch, helping put the pole back up in high jump, just a few examples. Now there came a time when any schoolboy who was not in any of the events at sports week-end had their part to play.
There were two races so all boys had at least a chance to participate in something at sports week-end , namely metres and metres. This is what happened. On your marks, get set, go and you are off.
The Bravest Boy I Ever Knew
What a great time to go down hey? Ouch, my hamstring, knee, ankle or whatever else. You may as well stop wasting your breath, he was deaf to all pleas and off he went with his funny, lopsided walk. A lone, brave schoolboy voice, could be heard from the crowd. He picked up and began to pace himself for the next metres like he had seen the great athletes doing. Also as he had seen all the great athletes doing and with the added impetous of old Bill, he slipped into overdrive cheered on by the whole school and now the crowd as well and sprinted home and crossing the finish line, he went down.
It was a lesson in courage which I have never forgotten. The old school chapel whose foundation stone was opened by Royalty no less. Ah, the grand old days of colonialism? But I digress. When, Jesus Christ Superstar first came out it caused shock waves amongst the religious community and was considered blasphemy of the highest order. So we decided to try it out on our music teacher, a lovely woman. At some stage in her life, one of her children became desperately ill and was on deaths door. This is what we were up against.
The lads wanted to shock her and I was against this saying we had to use a bit of psychology to get her on side. In other words play to her strengths, which were, her love of music, her good taste in this, her religious background and her womanhood. Luckily they listened to me and we chose this song to play for her. We had her almost immediately. The long and short of all this is, so well had we manipulated our music teacher and how much she loved the Jesus Christ Superstar album, that she decided to do something about it. She got hold of reverend Chandler, the school chaplain protestant and a former Oxford blue cricket and hockey player and he loved it too.
Once a month a service for us was held in the school library by the Catholic priest working at the Tegwani missionary school black just outside Plumtree. Anyway between the music teacher and the reverend they decided to open the school chapel to all denominations for the Easter service, where they would play Jesus Christ superstar. This was ground breaking stuff and a testament to good people. The great day arrived, an evening ceremony. What a gas man?
I was one of the few boys who never found this funny. More importantly, he had more courage in his little finger than the rest of the school put together. A fantastic place it was too in amongst a beautiful setting. However, gradually as the war in Rhodesia increased, more and more people injured in this war found themselves here. Which is where I come in. Left profoundly deafened which simply means you have no hearing at all , by my illness. I now found myself learning to lip-read here. I came in twice a week from the farm approximately 60 miles away from Salisbury on the main Salisbury, Bulawayo road.
On this particular day my lip reading teacher was busy with another patient and asked if I could wait awhile. Ever willing to please and enjoy a fag break I was quite happy to do this. At that moment the kids there came out for their break. Right in front of my eyes were some thalidomide children. Can any one remember those terrible times?
Anyhow there were a couple of toy cars, tractors etc, for them to play with. Those with withered arms were helping those with withered legs and vice-versa and they were so happy, laughing and shouting together I was humbled. Now I distinctly remember never having the attitude of why me? However, in all honesty, I was feeling distinctly sorry for myself. Well I finally found Facebook and decided to sign up. I loved it there and finding so many of my long, lost, friends there again.
Because of the chequered history of our sad country we are all over the world now. If I had known I would have definitively tried to see him there, but, I only found Facebook after returning from there. It sure is. Anyway our friendship continued. Amongst many things I learnt that he had a University degree and spoke many languages self taught just like him. Make no mistake about this but it was life threatening stuff.
Anyway we interplayed. I loved the story he told me about when he was in school his English teacher music teachers husband , used to get the lad sitting in the next desk to punch him on the arm to wake him up when he was dozing off. They sure are. For some reason he found this very hard to accept.
However I kept pestering and I think he became quite annoyed with me so I backed off. Eventually I got hold of him again and he was now prepared to accept that my feelings were genuine and well meant. I asked him if I could tell his story of Plumtree here on Moving Pieces. That it was worth telling and that I could always use a pseudonym to protect his identity.
- Account Options.
- Murder was a Blast (Jazz Phillips Mystery Series Book 4);
- Teaching Heart Blog.
- Delightfully Twisted Tales: Close Encounters of the Worst Kind (Volume One).
- The Bravest Boy I Ever Knew.
- The Tidal Wave and Other Stories (TREDITION CLASSICS)!
- “You may be the bravest boy I’ve ever met.”?
However I added that if any Plumtree boy ever read the piece, then they would know exactly who I was talking about. He told me not to bother sending it to him, just that he was glad he had been of help to me. He sure had. Perhaps you finally really believe me now? Because some people are worth telling stories about. Great story Spook, tough schools made Rhodesia but there was generally fair play and empathy. Another great tale, Spook. I am sure Charlie must have been thrilled and touched to read this story!
So good Spook , shades of REPS came to me me , thanks for sharing boet, I must now wind forward to today and finish this day at work, bugger! I never taught you but knew of you. I taught Chemistry from Attached to Grey House. Those were wonderful, formative years for me as a young school master. Revisited Plumtree for the centenary in Wonderful to read your story about Charlie and life at Plumtree School.
Inspiring and with a happy ending with you finding Charlie living in New Zealand. We are scattered all over the world but share a common link in growing up in such a very special place. Must share your link with friends who will remember Plumtree. I went to Plumtree for 6 years. I was not a pupil but a parent and had two boys there. Spook Moor, perhaps not the thing to say but had the tears running down my face, so many awesome memories of Plumtree.
I was Blessed to be in Gaul with Charlie albeit two or so years younger. Many great times and even greater memories, so often when together with Plumtree boys we tell stories that have my boys now at a University in stiches. I was present the day a school United to cheer a brave lad on, all knowing how fortuitous we all were to be able bodied sportsman.
Charlie had a wicked sense of humour and was positioned at the bottom of the Gaul house stairs in his fourth year with a knack of eliciting a cup of cuffed out of any unsuspecting junior.
And a tale or two of his own that had us as young guns rolling in the passages. Thank you most sincerely for this stroll down memory lane, Sean Kennedy 74 to 80 Gaul note the house that won all, sport and academics!! That was a wonderful comment Sean and thank you. In my time it was Grey that was winning everything. I really enjoyed your story, Spook. Good and bad memories, but all part of the tapestry of life, I guess. Keep writing, young man, you have a gift. What an inspiring story!
They did amazing work. It was great to read your story about both places. Thank you Mary-Ann Tunmer Williams. Delighted to see you here. Loved this story. And may I add, Plumtree School brought out the very best in the boys fortunate enough to attend that wonderful school. I know this because 6 of the best years of my life were spent being associated with the school through my own son.
I cried bitterly the day I drove down from Bulawayo to fetch Rowan for the last time. Many many happy memories of those wonderful years. Thank you for sharing this heartwarming story. Great to see the positive responses to this story Spook. Today they reckon Autism affects 1 — 64 not because its on the increase but because of improved diagnosis etc.
Not at all and trust you get some responses. Hi Spook. But perhaps they really were character building. My vintage produced great leaders in the form of fine soldiers. They were achievers. From a Sandhurst Sword of Honour, and Commanding Officers, to the most decorated Rhodesian soldier, with so many others in between. That must say something? What a story. Charlie is indeed a hero. Having been to a boarding school in UK, the are probably much of a muchness with initiation etc.
Hats off to both you and Charlie. What a fantastic tribute. Best wishes Peter and Patsy.
the bravest mom I ever knew — Beth Michiemo Photography
What a surprise to see you here Patsy and delighted with your comment and visit. Small world eh? And best wishes back at Peter and you. Thanks for pointing out the update, Spook.
I read your original, so much more detail here, even more to admire in Charlie. They must have been remarkable people too. Loved the Playboy bit! Which reminds me, one of my nurses was a Catholic nun. My father in law was Head Boy at Plumtree in the mid thirties and would regail in the fun times there. Your story nonetheless is very inspiring, Charlie and others like him leave indelible memories.
Thanks for sharing it. Very inspiring and so typical of THE Plumtree spirit. I hope you dont mind me sharing on the UK OPs page. There were many. Such was the nature of a boys boarding school as ours.
You either fitted in or packed out. Let me say this, we all endured our fair share of this treatment, not only from the senior boys but those of our own age group too. Suffice to say that as harsh as it was and as barbaric as non-prunitians perceive it to have been, we endured, we survived and we thrived. I have made many friends in life after Plumtree, but my truest and closest friends remain Prunitians.
I believe I knew him. I am so glad you told Charlie how much he had inspired you- that must mean a lot to him now. Your story shows us to keep aiming for our goals no matter how long it takes. We need to read these stories now and then to give us courage and make us feel better. Thanks for that. Plumtree school sounded awful- How dreadful to have to spend a couple of years there. That is quite the most delightful comment Annemarie and thank you so much. We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun, but, the rhythm and the rhyme, were but seasons out of time.
Rod McKuen Having said that it was terrible and all and the food had to be the worst in the country. I guess Charlie would have become a great guy no matter he went to Plumtree! So good to read this comment. Spook, I just want to say that I am both humbled and honored to be mentioned in the same breath so this brave young lad.
Hats off to you Charlie and thank you and Spook for such an inspiring story of fortitude and courage. All the best to you both. Giles rehabilitation centre left an everlasting impression on me. Bravo to you all.
The Bravest Boy I Ever Knew (Unabridged)
This tale of friendship is written in a language children of any age can understand. It tells a story of a young boy whose friend is disabled. He thinks his friend is very brave and he shares with the reader all of the reasons why. He never focuses on the disability and what his friend cannot do but instead on all the wonderful things his friend does.
Children will be introduced in a non intrusive way to someone with a disability. The Bravest Boy I Ever Knew will help children to better understand and not be scared of their differences. This story also shows that disabled children can do things just as well as able-bodied children and that they can have fun too. I read this to my daughters and their friends.
My four year old said at the end. She giggled at the thought of Michael and his friend racing!