The Strong Cuttie
I mind when I was at school there were Paddy Kelly, Packie Cullinan, Nellie McElroy, Seamus Daly, Maggie Carney, Winnie Maguire and Packie Nugent in the class.
I mind our teacher, she could look over the glasses at you and you knowed that whatever was comin’ it wasn’t good. She could hit you over the back of the ears. She had a bundle of rings on her fingers and she could fairly nip the ears off you with them.
There was a board sitting on the side seat and there used to be a lot of sums done on the board. She’d put us out to do sums, but, ach now, there were more than sums on the blackboard. Nellie always had the duster and she kep’ her eye on the mistress, who got on it anyway. The whole lot was slapped for being at such tomfoolery. Says she, “if I’s wanted yiz to write names on the board youse wouldn’t be fit. But it’s not the boys I blame, it’s the girls.”
She put us down beside the roll book after that. It sused to sit up on the oul harmonium. But there was an argument one day and Nellie – God rest her – was a strong cuttie and she kept going assways back and she tossed the roll books, cases and all into the fire. If you’d have heard the dunder of it.
She says, “I took youse up from the side seat to get watching youse and it’s worse yiz is getting’!”
There was ink bottles with wee holes in them and they roulled all over the place. I mind the ink going on the Roll Books.
I mind being round a map of the world wan day – Josie Corrigan was there – and Mrs. McG… says, “What’s an archipelago?” [And] Joe says, “The place where you wash the belly-o!”
Were you at school the day Jimmy Mc… was at the sums and Mrs. McG…says, “you were nearly right, James.”
“Ah,’” he says, “woman dear, nearly never bullt the cow!”
She gave him a wee dig of a slap and went home laffin’
She was a nice wee woman and a great teacher – many’s a Confirmation outfit she made. She fed them in school – lovely warm bread and butter.
I mind the day Torry took the teacher’s three-wheeled car. Torry started it and of course he knew nothing about it but he had to be futterin’ at it and away it went and he drove it intil a ditch and left it bizzin’ there.
I mind Josie Corrigan and Johnny at school, God rest them – and Peter Kelly, Harry McCarney, Frank McGirr, Peter Donnelly, Jenny Kelly and Jim Owens,” says Packie Cullinan.
I mind the time Jim McGirr went out and broke the stick on Mick’s Hill. He was toul on and got 17 slaps.
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