I find it interesting to explore why and when my views on WHS have changed in recent months. Michael Volpe’s book certainly started the process, and posts on Facebook have also played a part. Do humans have a natural tendency to blot out the bad and only focus on the more pleasant memories?
On the day we left WH what were our likely emotions? I guess they can be summed up into three groups.
A Those who shed a tear
B Those who whooped for joy
C Those who thought ‘Goodbye to All That’ (Other emotions are available!)
Most of us left at the end of a summer term under ‘normal’ circumstances, by coach or car. I know a minority left in other ways - expelled, or ran away, or family circumstances changed. But we all had our own Last Day.
At the time I was in category C – mixed feelings. On the one hand a realisation and sadness that an important part of my life was over, I was leaving friends I may never see again, but on the other hand relief, and looking forward to the future.
Over the course of the next 43 years I somehow moved from category C to category A. Nostalgia became embedded and the rose-tinted specs felt more comfortable. Listening to Neil Pearson’s reference to WH as a ‘Holiday Camp with lessons’ as I grappled with pulling his 1995 BBC tribute from VHS to mp3, and thence to whs-archives.net, confirmed my view. No one was there to say: "Hold on, yes we had some great teachers, fantastic grounds, privileged sports facilities, but what about the crap food, bullying and racism?"
This Facebook page has allowed me to connect with reality, and I am grateful to all those who have remained more grounded and had the courage to speak the truth.
Chris Snuggs - Berners/Halls 58 to 64: The day I left WHS was the saddest day of my life apart from when my uncle, grand-parents and parents died. I was fully aware that whatever happened next the best part of my life was over.