Spell Dictatorial!

Que Que Junior School Teachers

Que Que Junior School Teachers 1968.  Back Row: Margaret McGrady; Jean Ullyett; Queenie Gilby; John Dillane; Nan Young; Barbara Sinclair; Mrs Bath; “Henry” Engelbrecht.
Front row: ??; Nigel Roberts; ??; Paddy Bradley; Brian McGrady; Molly Wood;  Mrs Armstrong; Garth Watson, groundsman; Rose Grant, seceretary.

Spell Dictatorial

Mrs. Bradley is a teacher I haven’t forgotten.  She taught me in Standard 4A.  She was strictly in control one hundred percent of the time. She was ancient, thin all over except for her oedematous legs.  Her feet were squashed into tiny shoes that I often found myself looking down at.

Spell Dictatorial

We had our spelling list for homework as well as sums.  In the morning we started with the spelling list.  She inhaled deeply from her cigarette, ever dangling from her thin lips, before she exhaled and barked out the first word of the day amid clouds of smoke.  I couldn’t think.  I had sung the words, letter by letter, over and over again with my Dad in the car the afternoon before, as he did rounds to the various outlying clinics and then house calls, before we slid into the driveway for supper.  Was it ‘i’ before ‘e’ or was this the exception to the exception?  There was not a moment to dwell on it.  She had inhaled again and the next word was going to fill my universe.

Demerits and raps on the knuckles followed if you did not get at least five out of ten.  My best friend Wendy Allen saved me many a day as she exposed her notebook to me.  I could count on her.  She was effortlessly always right, top of the class.

Next was dictation.  I could not think and write at the same time, as she raced on from phrase to phrase, pacing the rows of desks armed with her cigarette in the one hand and a cane in the other.  I tried to get the gist of it as I dipped my nib in the inkwell and blobbed on the page.

But Mrs. Bradley  had a daughter, Jean Ullyett, who also taught at the school.  She had twins.  One day one of the twins brought his teacher, Miss Sinclair, a present of a lemon.  “What shall I do with this?” she asked.

“Put it in your gin,” he said.

Mrs. Gilby, the post master’s wife, taught Std 4B.  Big bosomed and soft spoken, I longed to be in her class.

Thanks to Barbara Goss (nee Sinclair) for the photo and many vignettes.  

 

39 Comments

  • betty

    Reply Reply July 20, 2012

    Diana, your descriptions are wonderfully colorful and delicious….can’t believe there was smoking in the classroom. Wish you would write more about your days in school: I would lap every experience up and hope for more!
    I, also was a nervous wreck during dictation….and my teacher would only read the sentence twice, and my heart would be beating so fast, I could hardly concentrate. Heaven forbid, if I had to erase, especially on a Big Chief Tablet, which could tear so easily, into a sort of wrinkled accordian shape that I couldn’t smooth out! You brought back such memories! Love this entry!

    • Diana

      Reply Reply July 21, 2012

      Betty, those were the days when teachers did the terrorizing not the other way around.

  • sue knight

    Reply Reply July 21, 2012

    I wonder exactly how many years teaching Mrs Gilby and Mrs Bradley did altogether. Mrs Gilby taught me in 1956 and Mrs Bradley the following year. My Standard 1 year was at the combined Junior and high schools in 1954 in the buildings which were later to become the high school and a new junior school was built. My teacher in Standard 1 was Mrs Bruce-Brand, the Chief Magistrate’s wife. Mrs Bradley’s sons were baseball players and I remember writing an essay on the history of baseball and won a very beautiful doll. At that time Mr Kevin Barker was the headmaster.

    • Diana

      Reply Reply July 21, 2012

      Sue, Barbara Wray (nee Gilby) is still in Kwekwe and probably knows. Mrs. Gilby and Mrs. Bradley certainly racked up a lot of years between them. All the names do jog the memory. A beautiful prize really is a great motivator. Mr. Barker was a great headmaster. I used to run errands for him in lieu of those two religion classes we had weekly. (Tuesday and Thursday if I remember rightly

    • I think it was Ron Barker? He went on to be a H-master at Hillside Junior in Bulawayo

      • Diana

        Reply Reply April 14, 2013

        I think the Headmaster’s first name was Ken (Kenneth).

  • Caryn

    Reply Reply July 21, 2012

    I have wonderful memories of various teachers at Que Que Junior School. A friend and I started a Facebook group for Que Que Junior School, it would be wonderful if you could post the above photo on there.
    Thanks for sharing your memories of the wonderful town we had the privilege to grow up in!

    • Diana

      Reply Reply July 22, 2012

      Caryn, I’ll be happy to post the photo there with a connection to the blog. Diana

    • Jim Woodman

      Reply Reply March 2, 2013

      I looked for the facebook group but couldn’t find it – please help – I would love to send it to my daughters Di and Jayne who were at QQJS in the 70s – I found QQHS

      • Diana

        Reply Reply March 2, 2013

        Jim, I don’t believe there is a QQJS facebook site. The QQHS site is very active, Valerie Jackson of Redcliff manages it extremely well. They do from time to time post Junior School comments there. You might scan through the photos and go from there.

        • Caryn

          Reply Reply March 2, 2013

          Diane/Jim, we do have a Facebook group for QQJS, here is the link – https://www.facebook.com/groups/39955993644/

          • Diana

            March 3, 2013

            Caryn, That’s wonderful. Thanks for the connection. Perhaps I will share my blog there also. It’s rather a good group picture of the teachers of the time and lots of different fond memories for so many of us.

          • Jim Woodman

            March 3, 2013

            Thankyou Caryn – I have enjoyed a good two hours on the site thinking of the good times with much nostalgia – I am sure my daughters will find lots of old friends there – thank you so very much

  • Barbara Goss

    Reply Reply July 21, 2012

    Hi Diana, I see you labelled the picture 1957 – it was actually 1968!

    • Diana

      Reply Reply July 22, 2012

      Barbara, I’ve corrected the photo. Seems the staff never aged!

    • Diana

      Reply Reply July 22, 2012

      Barbara, Thanks for the correction…seemed the staff never aged! thanks again for the wonderful memory.

  • Patricia Cosgrave Tarr

    Reply Reply July 21, 2012

    Loved your story,Diana.I wasin Mrs Bradley’s class in 1958. I have the class photo from that year.Her sons played baseball and I remember how we used to go and play softball at the Ross Bradley Park in Que Que. And I remember how the teachers were in full control back then. Glad I went to school in the “good old days”

    • Diana

      Reply Reply July 22, 2012

      Patricia, Barbara Goss corrected me on the date of the photo…1968. Seemed the staff never aged! Baseball and softball had their sizeable following in Que Que.

  • Beda (Miller) Connelly

    Reply Reply July 23, 2012

    Mrs Armstrong is after Molly Wood. Great photo!

    • Diana

      Reply Reply July 23, 2012

      Beda, Of course! Thanks for the memory jog and filling us in! I’ll ammend the blog

  • Chris Duckworth

    Reply Reply July 23, 2012

    Never made Std 4 at Que Que… Only reached KG 1… And the School was over the road from the park near the Globe and Phoenix hall…

    • Diana

      Reply Reply July 24, 2012

      Chris, Still with me! You were the generation before. Life was considerably tougher then

  • Chris Duckworth

    Reply Reply July 28, 2012

    Still with you, how could I ever l ever leave you… Sorry we weren’t able to make it across to Oregon, but you arrived back from Oxford just as E and I were about to tour Amish Land and leave for home… Love to you both…

  • Dale Philip (nee Bradley)

    Reply Reply August 3, 2012

    I would live to hear so much more of your story, Paddy, Mrs Bradley my granny died the year I was born, and since then we lost most of the Bradley Clan, just Jean (Paddy’s daughter) left. I have always wanted to hear so much more ! Keep writing.

    • Diana

      Reply Reply August 3, 2012

      Dale, Yes, we had no option but to learn under Mrs. Bradley’s strict instruction!!! The Bradleys were quite a family…Jean of course knows much more. (I am sure you have her address, if not I can pass that on to you.) The Bradley’s were big into baseball. Perhaps my readers will chime in with some more stories…stay tuned. Thanks for the encouragement.

      • Dale Philip (nee Bradley)

        Reply Reply August 5, 2012

        Thanks, yes I certainly have Aunty Jeans address. Might get her to dot down her memoirs. I look forward to hearing more stories, especially where my dad, David is in them.

        • Diana

          Reply Reply August 5, 2012

          Yes, it’s really important to get the memories and the photos identified and dated before it is too late. Carpe diem!

    • Gordon Ullyett

      Reply Reply August 22, 2013

      Hi Dale! I came across this web site by chance! Jean (aka Paddy’s daughter!) is well and still living with us!

      very interesting stuff on this site Paddy.

      • Diana

        Reply Reply August 23, 2013

        Glad you are enjoying all the memories.

  • Enid Farmar

    Reply Reply August 9, 2012

    In 1950, Que Que Junior was established as a separate entity from the parent body which then became a high school.
    I wish I could remember all the names of people in my class, but those that come to mind are Peter Loxley, Henry Venturas (his sister was Phoebe), Sheila Brown (younger brother Jocky Brown), Patsy Molloy.
    I wonder what’s become of everybody?

    • Diana

      Reply Reply August 10, 2012

      Enid, All these names are familiar, but haven’t heard from them yet. Maureen Paine, a boarder from a farm near Nkai remembers you well and recounted a lovely story about you on a previous blog comment…uncovering old QQites all the time.

    • Lynn Fowler Bell

      Reply Reply November 18, 2014

      Hi Enid, I have just come across this website. I remember all of the names you have mentioned. Patsy Molloy has contacted me recently from Spain where she lives. i live in Howick, South Africa. I have seen a message from Rosalie Ward to Diana and would love to find her if you know where she is.

      • Diana

        Reply Reply November 20, 2014

        Lynn, I’ll ask Rosalie Ward if she is ammenable to getting in touch…so glad you are connected with Patsy Molloy again.

  • I’ve come into this discussion rather late, but have such wonderful memories of QQJS, Mrs Bradley being the teacher who had the most positive impression on me. I was in her Std 4A in 1960 and remember her for her amazing way of opening my mind..it was the year my general knowledge really expanded.eg we were told a bone in the spine was called a vertebra.. with the accompanying demonstration.. she turned her back on the class and indicated a vertebra with her well manicured and prominent thumb nail, just at bra level (amid giggles from the class), rasping out verteBRA with her nicotine damaged vocal cords!! never to be forgotten!
    That was the year David Hirsch was accelerated to Std 5..he was way too bright for the rest of us and we were holding him back..my memory of David became rather hazy from that point, and I’m not sure of his path tho. (Diane can no doubt fill me in)
    it was also the year we had a major fund-raising event and Std 4 ‘s task was to make a ‘readicut’ woollen floor mat to be raffled. We all worked on it in class as we made time and during Art/Craft lessons. We were way too slow( it was pretty large 8-9ftx4ft?), and different tensions and ability made for a rather uneven finish, so in the school holidays, Fran (Stevens now Lamusse) and I went to Mrs Bradley’s house faithfully each day to work on and finish the mat to perfection..great fun.. I was ‘hooked’ on it!
    Out family also gained a white kitten which Mrs B was trying to get rid of!
    A wonderful woman..I don’t recall the fear of dictation or anything negative about that year.

    • Diana

      Reply Reply April 14, 2013

      Lesley, Such wonderful memories you have. David also remembers Mrs. Bradley positively. I think she had a fondness for bright sparks (Fran included) I saw Fran in Oxford last May and helped her celebrate her 40th Anniversary with Gilbert. I love the vertebra story… amazing how the personal and humor makes things stick!

  • Dale Philip (Bradley)

    Reply Reply February 1, 2014

    Loved reading this blog with all the comments, Mrs Bradley, was my granny, Paddy to us. Stories that I have missed out on as she died when I was a baby, sadly besides there grandchildren the only Bradley left is Jean.

    • Diana

      Reply Reply February 3, 2014

      Dale, lovely to hear from you and give you a taste of the times…

    • Ross Ferguson

      Reply Reply July 22, 2018

      My grandfather Charlie Ferguson played, captained and managed for the Rhodesian Baseball team – along with Ross Bradley. Are you his nephew? I found an email address online for Jean, but it bounced back.

      I’m trying to put a little project together by tracing old photographs and as much information as possible.

      Please get back to me and I’ll also share what I can.

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