CONTRIBUTION BY STANISLAW KLIMEK 1963/1970
I was a pupil boarder from 1963 until 1970. The boarding section closed in 1968 but remained open for the sixth form of which I was a member.
I lost my father in 1962 (Ex Officer Polish Army/Surveyor - a heroic defender of Warsaw 1939) and my mother was left to bring up me and my sister, but she found it hard to cope. (She was sent into forced labour in 1940 by the SS who brutally emptied 36 villages near a V rocket facility. She lost her home and family).
I was taken away from St Bedes College, Manchester and sent to St Josephs at the start of year 3. I obtained a scholarship to go to St Bedes and that was transferred to St Josephs.
Bullying by some of the boarders right from the start led to my suffering from extreme depression which the brothers tried to cover up. Some inmates had already been institutionalised and had been boarders there since prep school - so they were in a sense already damaged. Quite a few were sent there as their parents where serving in HM Forces, and the parents thought that they were doing them a favour .
I was regularly abused by Dev aka 'Melchizedek' (pathetic - hang your head in shame) and his limp wristed crew, who made my life practically unbearable. (Perhaps our paths will cross someday yet!) The brothers did not assist me in any way, in fact I was belted around the head and body by 'Peebles' Br O'Sullivan on a couple of occasions when I tried to defend myself.
It took me 10 years to get over my experience. I failed at University, got divorced. Life was hard - but what does not kill you, makes you stronger.
However, I got it all together and became an RAF Officer (graduated Logistics - RAFC Cranwell), graduated with a Masters degree in Science, a Post Grad Diploma in Education and Business, Chartered member of the British Computer Society and have now retired as an Assistant Head /Director of a large and successful High School, where I believe that I was able to turn around quite a few young lives and set them on the road to a good life. I am also a very experienced radio amateur and Accordionist (a life long passion), and I speak 4 languages and love riding my Harley (Old mans bike really), when I am not tending the garden.
Grateful thanks to Iain Kempsell, David Wright Andy Hall, Rossie, Watson, John Rooney, Paddy O'Byrne, The Wilcox Brothers, Aldo Pelosi, Bernard Friswell, David Leigh, Jon Miller (Oh your sister's sarnies with oh so thin tomatoes!!) amongst others who tried to keep me sane, and Bob Johnson who I nearly murdered when taking that first bike ride (Honda 50 supersports) - a brave Zambian who deserves a medal.
Grateful thanks also to Mr Podd who inspired me with a love of Jazz (and the accordion).
I often wonder what happened to Mary Anne Taylor, who I met at a party at John Rooney's house - I hope that she is well and prospering. Another friend was Ros Taylor who at the time was going out with Paddy O'Byrne, a truly decent person (as I recall), and a red headed girl called Wendy (Collegiate) who we all admired. We also used to visit the Tuck Shop next to the Collegiate school where another lovely girl (who went out with Tony Sumner) officiated at the till. Pleasant memories recalled regarding the Blue Room (Stanley Arms), where I could make a 1/2 pint of Guinness last 4 hours - I had little pocket money.
We had adventures - explosive substances filched from the CHEMI lab. Silver iodide in the runners of the 6th form partition, just the job before afternoon prayers. We also investigated the tunnels under the Physics lab where Joe Snow had a secret Sanctum full of new books and equipment that he was too stingy to let us use (he was the school bursar). We also got onto the roof of the college; Dickinson used to swim in the water tank on the roof. We even saw Joe Snow sun bathing on the science building roof - and we liberated his dog collar! My first motor bike ride was also undertaken when I was 15 - enough said. My first article in Yer Tiz (still got it). Converting a microscope in the Biology lab into a reflecting telescope so as we could see the Collegiate girls changing during biology lessons.
I now live in SE Poland and I am married to a superb person (25 years now) who I met on a business trip and proposed/ got married after 2 weeks. If things are meant to be they will happen - but - you have got to help make them work.
I am glad St Josephs was demolished - it should have been burnt to the ground long ago! and the ground ploughed up.
As for the annual get-togethers - just what exactly are you celebrating? The day boys could escape at the end of the day, but the boarders had no option other than to grit their teeth and carry on.
If it wasn't for HP Sauce, I think that most of us would have starved to death, or overdosed on Mars Bars. Bullying was rife, and there was no one to help us, guide us or protect us. What a horrible experience some of us had. I think that many of the boarders ended up with a twisted view of life, and especially women.
I met with Br Ryan in Stoke (St Josephs College - Stoke) just before he died (22 years ago). He was retired and had given up smoking after his 3rd heart attack. Part of the college was being used as a rest home for the brothers - what a pathetic lot they seemed. Joe Snow I met in Prior Park, again he was very ill and suffering from bed sores, about 30 years ago.
In memoriam - a toast for the survivors of Bullying and
In cruce vita !! you are kidding ??
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