March 1965 and I was on teaching practice at Holywell whilst on the PGCE course at Bangor University. I had a message from Proffessor DWT Jenkins who was in charge of the Education Department telling me to see him on my return. This I did and he told me that I should apply for a job that he had just heard of at Dr Williams School, Dolgellau. The following week I found myself at DWS, an overnight interview and subsequently joined DWS as a new teacher in September 1965 along with Miss Freda (Paddy) James, Miss Cynthia Evans and Miss Pam Heron. The first three of us were at Bangor and Pam came from Art School. The fifth newcomer was the delightful Mrs Audrey Vaughan. What I later learnt was that Prof. Jenkins and Miss Lickes had been together at Oxford and whenever she needed new staff she would apply to him to see if he could help.
I was Junior English Teacher i.e. teaching Upper 3rds, Lower 4ths and Upper 4ths. The head of department was Mrs Bingham and Miss Lickes had considerable input to the English teaching because it was her subject. I was placed in Tremhyfryd where the housemistress was Miss Betty Wood, the matron for the first year that I was there was Mrs Bessie Lewis and for the second year Miss Ann Morgan from Arthog. There were 21 Upper 3rds and 4 Upper 5th girls. Mrs Lewis had been persuaded by Miss Lickes to help her for three weeks and finished up staying two years. Her time off was from Tuesday tea time to Wednesday afternoon which she spent at her house in Abergynolwyn. We kept very early hours in Tremhyfryd and the doors were locked and lights out by 10pm. One Tuesday night when I was in charge (at 22 years of age!!!!!) because Miss Wood had taken a group to a concert in Liverpool and was due back late when suddenly there was a banging on the door and when I opened it there was a very smart blonde lady rather irritated, who said "what a bloody hole this is! All lights out this early". It was Mrs Lewis' daughter on route from Cardiff where she worked to Bangor where her husband worked at the BBC. She was none other than Ann Clwyd Lewis, Labour Politician. She was put out to find that her mother was at home, but I did make her a coffee before she went on her way.
During the years I was at Dolgellau there were two bad floods. One washed the Lady Bridge away and either that one or the other one came right up to the doorstep of Tremhyfryd. It was quite late at night, completely dark, and Miss Wood and other staff including some from Glyn Malden had gone to an Eisteddfod choir rehearsal at Corwen. Mrs Lewis and I worried about how they were to get home in the face of the rising water. The problem was solved by Miss Margaret Williams, the matron at Glyn Malden, who contacted a local farmer and the group turned up triuphantly on a low loading truck drawn by a tractor. All of them got home safely including the contingent from Glyn Malden.
The two years were a great experience, hard work, but we did have some fun. I left DWS in 1967 partly because my mother was making anxious noises about pension contributions for my retirement! DWS was a Direct Grant Grammar School which seemed to me a good system but in 1966 this started to be phased out. Nearly 40 years later when I applied for retirement I discovered that Miss Lickes had seen to it that every last penny as it should have was paid in. Good for her!! My mother had had no need to worry!