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A Shout From The Attic: Brunswick Street Methodist Church

Ronnie Bray recalls the first time he trod the boards.

To read earlier chapters of Ronnie's vividly-told life story please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/a_shout_from_the_attic/

From as far back as I can remember René and I had gone to Brunswick Street Methodist Sunday School. I enjoyed going very much because people were so kind. Even the children were nice. They were dressed in Sunday best and always on their best behaviour. The teachers were nice and I looked forward to going.

At Harvest Festival René and I would take some apples to put at the front of the church under the pulpit. Harvest Festival was about the only time we went to Sunday Service there. I recall how full of fruit and flowers it would be even in wartime. They would then ask if anyone had sick relatives. I don’t know how old we were when we started lying about sick aunts, but I do remember eating plenty of fruit before we got home and putting the basket in someone’s dustbin.

We often ate an apple or two on the way down to the Harvest Festival with no sense of wrongdoing. I believe it was opportunist eating. Someone has said that children are always anxious because they do not know where their next meal is coming from. I wonder if they went to Harvest Festival.

What I remember best and enjoyed most about Methodist Sunday School, was a lesson when someone brought in a model of a Palestinian village. I loved models and this one gripped my imagination. I also remember the concerts held in the downstairs hall. I seem to remember taking part in one - my first time treading the boards. It was a brief comic sketch about the vagaries of the English language.

Me: Underneath the mistletoe buff . . .

MC: Bough! Bough!

Me: [bowing]

MC: No! Say, “Underneath the mistletoe bough.”

Me: Underneath the mistletoe bough
I saw a woman kneading dow . . .

MC: No! Kneading dough! Dough!
Me: I saw a woman kneading dough
And then she said I’ve had enow ...

MC: “Enough! Enough!”

Me: And then she said, 'I’ve had enough ...'

MC: Yes! And we’ve had enough as well. Get off!

Me: [Exit hastily]


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