There was no escape. The head girl, deputy head girl, prefects and monitors – ruled our lives. They were the bosses. We were more in awe of them than any of the teaching staff. The exception, of course was Miss Dorothy Davies – the dear, dreaded Do!
These young ladies ruled the school with great determination and had the power to quell the antics of the naughtiest of juniors. Some were kind and some were sarcastic and horrid. But most were there just to see that we behaved and kept to the rules.
Even at night we were controlled by the ‘dormy-prees’: and at waking up, they were there. My first dormy was such a shock – it was an enormous change from my bedroom at home. I remember well sleeping for the first time in the same room with twenty-four other girls. This was dormy 10 – the monster dormy! There were three dormy prees; Helen Stewart, Jill Orton and Gwenan Edwards. They were all very decent and kept wonderful control on this large gang of juniors.
Helen used to tell us stories if we behaved ourselves. Another storyteller was Heather Riddell, a junior and her stories frightened us. “The wind whistling through the telegraph wires” was one of creepiest.
Prep was supervised mostly by prefects and monitors and they also sat at the end of the dining tables at tea and supper time. Woe to anyone who ‘dug’, i.e. took a piece of bread and butter from under another piece of bread and butter. I seem to recall that the punishment for that misdemeanour was having to stand on one’s chair!”
I suppose that it was all very stifling; and holidays were such a relief! Parents were strict but not frighteningly so.
We had great respect for all of the disciplinarians and very rarely would anyone answer back or be insolent. After all it was a school for young ladies!
I look back with nostalgia and hear voices. “Don’t run along the corridor”, “no talking”, “where are your gloves – hat etc.”, “stop talking”!
Discipline was the keynote of our lives. Did this strict regime harm us? I know that it made me very aware of rules and regulations and the importance of adhering to them. Perhaps the regime made me timid. My husband of fifty-seven years totally refutes that suggestion and states that to the contrary, the former school “supervisors” had obviously been an important influence and role models for my behaviour towards others.
Some of the head girls and deputies that I remember and made an impression on me are the following: - (Perhaps in the wrong chronological order, but it was a long time ago.)
Pamela Morris – who always looked immaculate. She had perfect skin and fair hair in a page boy style. Her voice was clear and precise.
Bronwen Pugh – a very dominant character with penetrating eyes which seemed to look straight through one. She was a superb actress who played St. Joan in Shaw’s play.
Dylis ‘Bala’ Jones – was a talented violinist and a warm humorous person with beautiful auburn hair.
Ann Bowen Thomas - always appeared dignified and never ruffled, but her dark eyes did sparkle when annoyed.
Kath Pink – was very popular, a great character and never unkind. She was a brilliant cricketer.
I wonder where all these persons are now. They had such an influence over us. Do they ever think back upon their time in power?
The most important and lasting legacy of DWS has been the deep friendships made. Jean Rowlands, Gill Will, Mary Davies, Siriol Wyn Jones and so many others, many more like sisters to me. Also the other dear friends; Val Hardy, Mary Edwards, Dot Williams, all of Huw’s, Ann Canon Tudor, Mary and Jean Tudor, Margaret Wigley Francis and Gaynor Morris (who had left the previous term). Jane was our shepherd, keeping us all in touch, good or sad news she would phone us.
The most impressive and awesome person, undoubtedly, was Miss Dorothy Davies, known by all of us as Do. Remember, as a twelve year old “doing” Macbeth in her class. For our prep we had to write an essay on “My Impressions of the play Macbeth”. A very difficult essay to write. Having been taught to make an impact with the first sentence, I started blithely – “Shakespeare wrote a very good play when he wrote Macbeth”. When the exercise book was returned the first thing I noticed was all the red ink on the offending sentence. Do had written, “DON’T PATRONISE A GENIUS”.
We had to learn many passages, not only the words but the punctuation as well. She was an amazing teacher and personality, I remember her with great respect.
I often wonder if my life would have been very different had I stayed in Caernarfon Grammar School.
Probably, but I do think that DWS had a good influence on me. We all had happy and sad times there but on the whole have happy and humorous memories.