Sitting in class on a cold November morning in 1961, at St Joes’ primary school there was a slam and a scream. Doug Gatt had shut the iron, classroom, door onto his thumb. I remember loads of blood, lost nail and plenty of noise.
Doug got taken to the first aid room and we all played about as we had no teacher. It was a dark day and looking out of the window we could see little snowflakes blowing in the freezing wind.
Doug’s thumb took a back row as the snowflakes got bigger and bigger, it began to fall with a vengeance. Trees in the near distance were cloaked with fine new white coats and the grass outside our classroom began to get whiter, poor old Doug.
As the storm settled in, the snow storm turned into a blizzard and we laughed and played in the classroom. We talked about getting sent home and then the school bell rang three times calling everone to assembly. Dougs thumb was now history.
The head master, Mr Pitt rocket back and forth on his feet, waiting for the hall to be silent. Mr Pitt always rocked backwards and forwards on his feet when he was impatient. When we had to stand outside the headmasters room there would be about ten children all rocking backward and forwards on their feet. Mr Pitt cleared his throat and looked around the hall as we all fell silent.
“We have decided to send you home early today, as the snow has began to settle. Those of you with parents at home line up by the school door. If there are those without parents at home wait behind.”
Every single child went to the going home line. If we did not get out now the snow might stop and get washed away. We were marched out of the doors to unexpected freedom. What a great day?
Outside we threw snowballs at everything that moved. Long icy slides were made in the paths and roads and the children sliding on them were worthy of Olympic fame. Snowmen built in minutes and igloos began to take shape. The smiles and happiness on that day will live in my memory for all time.
Eventualy we made our way to our homes and enjoyed our unexpected holidays. 1961 will be remembered as one of the coldest years on record.
Doug Gatts thumb faded into history.