Coffee and a chat about old times
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