Cof­fee and a chat about old times

The Oban Times - - News -

THE Oban Com­mu­ni­ties Trust (OCT), the or­gan­i­sa­tion be­hind The Rock­field Cen­tre, will be shar­ing sto­ries from its oral history pro­ject to­mor­row, Fri­day Au­gust 7, with a cof­fee morn­ing at the cen­tre huts from 1030-12.30, writes Louise Glen.

Cori Prin­cell, co-or­di­na­tor of the Her­itage Lottery-funded pro­ject, said: ‘The first sto­ries have had some lovely sim­i­lar­i­ties. We’re hear­ing that chil­dren in the 40s and 50s en­joyed a lot of free­dom in what was then a qui­eter and safer Oban.’

One such story is that of Ni­cholas Ma­cLean who started at Rock­field School in 1946 and clearly re­mem­bers his first day, when the moth­ers dropped off their chil­dren to spend the whole day with their new teacher, Miss Rankin.

He said: ‘The walls were cov­ered with nurs­ery rhymes and letters of the al­pha­bet.

‘It didn’t seem very long be­fore we were able to read and write sim­ple sen­tences.

‘It was cer­tainly within that first term of that first year ... I’m sure it was, be­cause I was so pleased with my first achieve­ment, “The cat sat on the Mat”.

‘And I was very pleased to be able to read and write, as I thought then, be­cause I re­mem­ber as an in­fant, adults spend­ing time read­ing news­pa­pers, just look­ing at what to me was a se­ries of dots,

‘I used to get an­noyed be­cause no­body was pay­ing at­ten­tion to me, they were all look­ing at these big sheets of pa­per, and now I thought, now I can join them.’

Like oth­ers, Nick also re­mem­bers the sweets – Pan Drops, Rown­tree’s Fruit Gums, Fry’s Cho­co­late Cream, Wrigley’s chew­ing gum – which he’d pur­chase at Han­nah’s or another lit­tle shop in his neigh­bour­hood.

Sweets were ra­tioned un­til 1953, but Nick doesn’t re­mem­ber be­ing asked for his ra­tion card – and cer­tainly didn’t vol­un­teer it.


DOU­BLE JOY: Oban and Lorn Hor­ti­cul­tural So­ci­ety’s sec­re­tary, Sharon Black (third from left) hands over a £200 cheque to Lind­say El­liott of Friends of Oban Com­mu­nity

Play­park and another cheque of £200 to Gor­don McNab of Oban Com­mu­ni­ties Trust

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