Thursday, 17 June 2010

Chocks Away

Today I was lucky enough to pay my last respects to my old History Teacher , the (in?)famous Mr Marshall . He was a bit of a legend at my secondary school , and also , it appears , amongst his local community here in Gourock .
It was a "good" funeral service , in that the he had lived a full life , and was fondly remembered by many .
The Eulogies spoke of the different memories each of us had of him , Husband , Father , neighbour , teacher , colleague , friend . The main one was given by a former pupil AND colleague of his , and was done so beautifully , that I was transported back to his classroom 20 odd years ago (I know , I am an old bat myself now!)
Mr Marchall was "old school" strict , punctilious , traditionalist , humourous , eccentric ...... there are a whole book of adjectives that can describe him . In fact if we were to collate them memories of all who knew him , it would be a collection of books bigger than Encyclopedia Britannica!
My memories of him are that he would walk about the school in his tweedy trousers , check shirt and black gown , slightly bald with an RAF moustache humming contentedly to himself , then as soon as he saw or heard mischief afoot , he would roar like a tiger . My earliest memory of him is bursting into our registration class to take R.E. , and announcing that it was the only thing enshrined in Scots Law that he should teach us , but that he was not a believer himself!
He had a soft spot for the girls and wouldn't belt them , but woe betide any boy who crossed him! After the belt was banned , he would stand wayward pupils in the corner , and roar at them if they so much as moved a hair . He had a habit of running up the corridors pretending to be a Sopwith Camel or Spitfire , and I think he may have spent some time in the RAF , but I can't be sure . One day , one of the teachers came out of the class to shout at what they thought was a wayward pupil , and came face to face with Mr Marshall arms outstretched doing the usual aeroplane impersonation !
As part of our World Ward 1 History project , we collated questions that were sent to a surviving pilot whom Mr Marshall had contacted personally , and whose answers were taped and sent back to us . Sadly that elderly gentleman died not long after , but we had this wonderful living memory of his on tape , thanks to Mr Marshall .
I think he must have been getting on when I got him , as he seemed to be mellowing , and would share some private anecdotes (I think the boys had been locked in the cupboard for getting up to nonsense , so it was just the girls) . From these I can tell he thought his wife the loveliest woman , his father was strict but fair , and he abhorred domestic violence , and he loved good home-baking! He would tease those he thought were "too religious" , but in return would take a teasing for his "lack" of faith .
He was a bit of a gardener , and latterly his picture would appear in the local paper for his prize winning Parsley! A lot!
These are really just my memories , fond memories and in the church today I know I was surrounded by people who had their own fond memories including his family .
To me , that is a life well lived . Goodbye Mr Marshall , we'll miss you but not forget you!

1 comment:

Irene said...

Mhairi, what a lovely post. Sensitive, funny and heartwarming.