In the 1950s, corporal punishment was a totally accepted method of discipline. And perhaps nowhere more so than among the Christian Brothers.
Each Brother was armed with a short, stubby strap, generally black or dark brown.
It was administered at high speed (whack!) to the outstretched palm of the offending pupil, typically one, two or three times to a maximum of six.
In celebration of rapidly approaching Christmas. I believe this was originally presented by Frank Kelly, who played Father Jack in the Irish television series Father Ted.
I sometimes reflect on the fact that to a child there is much more evidence for the existence of Santa Claus (photo to the left) than for the existence of God (no photo available). Consider the similarities. The child is told by the main authority figures in his or her life, parents, grandparents and extended family that
It was 1953 and we had all just started in Grade 4 at St Laurence’s College. Such a change from the nuns at a Catholic convent school.
Our new teacher was Brother Cusack (for some reason, the Irish Christian Brothers were referred to by their family name, rather than the more historical given name). It didn’t really matter, as we were instructed to refer to them as “Sir” in both the first person (Excuse me, Sir) and the third person (Sir said…).
Clearly, we as humans are on an exponential curve of discovery.
This is reflected in statements like “95% of everything we know has been discovered in the past 10 years”.
And we no longer believe, as the Victorians did at the turn of the (19th) century that “everything of significance has already been discovered”. Or, as Thomas Watson, the first president of IBM famously predicted “that there might someday be a world wide market for as many as 5 computers”.
Born in 1944, I attended St Laurence’s College (SLC) from 1953 to 1961, which was the full nine years offered by the school, from Year 4 to Year 12. Called in those days Grade 4 and Senior respectively.
Other years had special names as well. Year 7 was Sub-Scholarship and Year 8 was Scholarship. So called because if you passed, the State Government contributed towards your school fees for the next four years.