In My Time.

Written in 1937




It seems many moons since I first came to Centre:  in fact it is, and I, like many another of the Ancient Ones, have witnessed many changes, especially in dress, but more especially in the colours of that dress.

In the good old days - I use the expression deliberately - the colours of Centre were amber and black.  For the latter I have nothing but praise:   it is a good, old-fashioned, dependable colour, and nothing can make it darker or lighter, but amber . . . !  Even as far back as I can remember, the amber of any one garment was never quite the same as the amber of another.  The ties, for example, were easy winners - they sported a really good amber:  the blazers lost by a short head, being a trifle paler;  whilst the hatbands came in a bad third, being nothing but a really good yellow.  As for the girdles, they need an article all to themselves!  Just let me briefly mention, however, that they set out the good intentions, and cannot be held responsible for what happened to them at the hands of their owners.

Among so many people three shades of amber meant little or nothing;  but how things change!  I think it was in my second year that several things happened:  the hatbands were the first offenders - for some reason or other, some of the new hatbands were a dreadful pale yellow, and some, going to the other extreme, were a darker amber than before.  It was a case of "what one loses on the roundabouts . . ."  The ties too, became darker, but some good saint saved the blazers.

You must remember, however, that all these things were further complicated by one's age and standing in the School.  For example, all the Lower School had bright new hatbands, but it was considered, and still is considered, infra dig for anyone of age and standing to have a new hatband.  Of course, if one's mother surreptitiously washed the old one, that could not be helped, but in any case she soon gave it up as a bad job because the colours ran.

Once inside School in those days a grey overall covered up a multitude of sins.  Further complications set in, however, when "gym" slips and their inevitable followers, jumpers, were introduced.  The School Colours still, through thick and thin, being amber and black, many black jumpers appeared, but later, official notices proclaimed navy blue to be the rule, and unfortunately navy blue is not so dependable as black.  It was also found that there exists more than one shade of amber, and hence no two girls in the School had the same colour on their collar and cuffs.  An official standard was set up, however, when a certain dependable shop issued navy and amber jumpers but it also issued navy and yellow jumpers, and by then confusion reigned.

Under all this Centre subsided, but emerged bright and smiling as the City Secondary School, bringing green and red in its wake.  Now we are as a nation divided against itself;  when looking at the assembled School one might almost say with Lamb:  "Iris dipped the wool."  The younger end of the School proudly wears green and red;  the older end stubbornly and faithfully sticks to amber and black;  the hockey and netball teams wear white "girdles" but hid their faces in doing so, conscious of their shame;  and the football team has turned traitor and wears green and red - all except one sage, who optimistically combines old and new in his socks.