Monday, August 08, 2011

My Grandmother's Convent School Days

I'll be going for my Sec 4 class reunion on Saturday.  It's been years since we saw each other - in those pre-email/internet days, it has been a little more difficult to keep in touch.   But this post is inspired by a far more senior group of Sec 4 girls - in fact from my grandmother's Sec 4 class from the 1930s.  In fact, besides my grandmother, my grandaunt and one of my teachers were all in this same class. 

The photo has not stood well the test of time.  But it shows a happy and cohesive little group of schoolgirls, presumably in the grounds of the Victoria Street Convent (see my earlier post about my grandfather's convent boyhood; little would this young convent boy know that his future wife would pass through the same gates, many years later).

You can see from the photo that the convent uniform used to be a little different - definitely those large collars had mercifully left the scene by the time it was my turn to don the uniform (but my convent is in Katong).
For many of these girls, their education  would end after completing secondary school.  But already, this was a privilege - for theirs was an era where many girls remained uneducated.  They would proceed to become wives and mothers; some would take up jobs.  Their lives would not be easy - within a few years they would be facing the trials of the Japanese occupation, followed by the trials of the pre-Independence years.  But the friendships and ties nurtured in these years would endure.  This year, the survivors of this class turn 90.  Those who can, still meet up regularly as they have been doing all these years.

So my wish for my classmates is that we too remain happy and healthy, well into our golden years. 

P.S.  Happy Birthday, grandma.

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