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A Shout From The Attic: Books

Ronnie Bray recalls helping himself to a small supply of books, on "permanent loan'', from the school library.

To read more of Ronnie's life story click on A Shout From The Attic in the menu on this page. Read also his sparkling Letter From America columns.

It was from the library cupboard, the last one on the gallery before the descent below the stairs to Mr Armitage’s final year class, that I helped myself to a small supply of books on permanent loan. My jumper served for this purpose. One of them was a book on natural history with a blue hard cover. I read it repeatedly for many years and lost it soon after I painted the cover black during one of my experimental periods.

Art periods became more fun as a sense of impending freedom helped us to give vent to some of our enjoyment of life. Not exactly a celebration of life, but an awakening to the possibilities of what life could mean. It was a feeling, not a verbalised concept, and we enjoyed it. It would be called high spirits in a later time, but there was no malice, just an internal upward thrust that led us towards the unknown.

The sense of flying which the young soul sometimes experiences often results in coming down to earth with a bump when it is confronted with the hard realities of life; one of which is that spirits do not soar. Perhaps it is to this or something like it that is intended when someone recalls that their schooldays were the happiest days of their life. Mine were not, and the heart-singing breast-warming glimmer of life with its sense of permanent sunshine and burnished gold faded “into the common light of day” before I was ready for it.


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