CONTRIBUTION BY EOIN O'SULLIVAN 1957/1966
Most of the contributions to "Personal Memories" seem to have been from "Day Bugs" as we boarders used to call you. The boarders at St. Joseph's College got to share the premises with the Christian Brothers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so possibly we got a little more insight.
Sharing the premises with the Christian brothers had it's own unique rewards. These were:
Day Bugs ate Ma Coakley's culinary treats 5 times a week, at lunch times. Boarders had this pleasure at Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, 7 days a week. Only the boarders got to eat rubber fried eggs, rissoles, (these could appear at breakfast, lunch or dinner,) porridge, tapioca pudding and best of all, Ma Coakley's speciality, lumpy mashed potatoes, guaranteed to make you puke. Whist dispensing all of the above, Ma Coakley gave the best performance of a roaring Guinness Drunk you could ever hope to see.
2. Hygiene :
Important work this, not to be carried out by any untrustworthy English person. The Brothers had imported an Irish woman, about 35 years old, who must have been the most under employed person in Lancashire. She did have one obsessive interest. This was to position herself in the doorway of the shower room at night time so she could inspect the state of the members within. All in the interest of good hygiene of course. We are not sure which of the Brothers eloped with this delightful wench.
3. The Brother's Stash :
Mike Beaumont, Peter McDonald and myself (all boarders) discovered the Brothers secret stash of alcohol, in the basement of the residence, beside the music room. Mike, Peter and I recognised the value of our discovery, and proceeded for several weeks to sample the wares. ( We are not talking rubbish here, we're talking Remy Martin, Courvoisier, etc, - quality stuff!). Sadly, all good things come to an end. The stash, albeit significantly depleted , had mysteriously disappeared. We had been rumbled!!
4. The Key to the New Block:
Our boarder predecessors from the year before bequeathed to us a master key to the new building. This gift opened up a whole world of new possibilities to us. We, and as I recall, it was Mike Beaumont, Peter McDonald, John Carter and myself, embarked on a series of night time activities previously not possible. These included the Friday night dance at the Tower Ballroom, followed by the Bowling Alley and a coffee bar. It all seemed very exiting at the time as we were not allowed off school premises at night. Finally, using the master key in the early morning we would crash out on Brother Ryan's benches in the new Chemistry Lab. On one of these weekends, I encountered the Brothers walking to the chapel in a crocodile at 4am, chanting prayers, in some kind of medieval trance. Thankfully they did not see me. On another of these weekends, one of the Brothers, a neurotic nicknamed Peebles, had realised we were not in our beds, and had successfully locked us out. This resulted in a 2 week suspension for John Carter and me.
5. General Impression of St. Joseph's:
The Brothers, although mostly larger than life characters, ran a school that achieved excellent results. A high proportion of the students entered Universities. There was a strong emphasis on sports participation, which encouraged many of the students to have a life long interest in sports. The brothers I remember best are Brother Ryan (aka WXR ), a fine man, although I never had a clue about those chemical formulae he was teaching. My namesake, Brother (Gilbert) O'Sullivan; definitely an unforgettable character, and of course CLOB (aka C L O'Brien). He clearly transmitted his appreciation of music, and was a very enthusiastic music coach. Of course there were some excellent lay teachers: Mr. Freeborough, Mr. Charles, Mr. Carrington, & Mr. McKenna, come to mind.
I am grateful to St. Joseph's College for the excellent education they provided to me. I would not change a thing about my experiences there. As a boarding student, one moved away to University and then to pursuing a career, so that events took you away from Blackpool and the friends you made at school there. However, there couldn't have been a better place to be at school than in Blackpool at St. Joseph's College.
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