School Days, Reminiscences of Joy Lennick

School Days, Reminiscences of Joy Lennick

Welcome to the School Days, Reminiscences series in which my champion bloggers and authors share reminiscences of their school days. It’s my small way of thanking them for their support and of letting you know about their services and publications.

This week, I am pleased to introduce Joy Lennick, author and poet. Joy joined in the conversations from the outset, sharing snippets from her war-time schooldays. Intrigued to learn more, I invited Joy to join in with a post dedicated to her own reminiscences and she accepted. I’m certain you’ll find them as interesting as I do.

Before we begin the interview, I’ve invited Joy to tell you a little of herself:

From a young age, I was never happier than when reading or writing (and perhaps dancing!). I was evacuated with my two brothers to live on a mountain (Hare) in Wales, being half Welsh on my mother’s side, and grew to love Wales. My education was completed in Pitman’s College, London, from the last year of the war. At fifteen, I became a shorthand-typist, and worked for an agency in the East and West ends of London, which I really enjoyed.

After marriage just before the age of 21, and living in London for a few years, the Suez Crisis debacle flared up and petrol was so short and the atmosphere so “war-like,” we set sail for Canada, where we lived and worked for eighteen, unforgettable, months.

Returning to the UK due to home-sickness…in 1960 I had my first son, followed by No.2 in 1962 and No.3 in 1968. I contracted but beat cancer, so was very lucky. We then ran a green-grocery/grocery store for several years. After its sale, and the children went to school, I returned to work in the city as secretary to the two editors of Kaye & Ward, an old established publishing company in the city. (My dream job!)

The next chapter saw us buying a small hotel in Bournemouth as we both enjoyed cooking and people. We turned a dark, mean place into a thriving business, I lost a stone (yippee) and gained a few muscles, and we thoroughly enjoyed the whole business, even though it was hard work.  Tastes were changing and the hotel was old. We needed more cash than we had to make it more comfortable, so – with regret, sold it and returned to Essex to live. And that is when I learned about “Serendipity,” and became a writer, quite by chance.

A letter from Kogan Page Ltd of London “commissioned” me (?!) to write a book for them, subject to approval of the first two chapters. I couldn’t wait! “Running Your Own Small Hotel” was approved. I had been recommended by one of the editors I’d worked for who had read some of my poetry and an article I’d had published. The book did well and went to reprint. There was even an exciting “Authors’ party,” and I updated two of their books and wrote a second called “Jobs in Baking and Confectionery,” which also sold well.

In between working for my local junior school, part-time, I then ran a modest, while successful poetry club, and wrote a few poems and articles, which were published. I also received a few rejection letters…par for the course!

Fast forward too many years, and we retired to Spain, I joined The Torrevieja Writing group and won the first Torrevieja International Short Story competition with a Time Traveller tale called “Worth its Salt,” then was a writing judge for two years.

Next came a memoir: “My Gentle War” which went to No.1 in Kindle’s Social History and Memoir category. A true sea adventure story: “Hurricane Halsey” followed, then my only novel “The Catalyst,” covering one of the terrorist bombings of a train in London in 2005, but with fictitious characters. I also wrote several stories which were included in WordPlay’s anthologies – later called Writers’ Ink (our off-shoot Ezine is called INK SPOT). Then came “Where Angels and Devils Tread,” a collection of short stories written with author friend Jean Wilson; and a modest collection of jokes and humorous poems written with my husband, Eric: “The Moon is Wearing a Tutu.” I also edited husband’s book “A Life Worth Living,” and updated “From the Prairies to Paschendeale,” for a friend. I am at present working on a book about the “Dombrowski family.”

I took a Creative Writing class for the U3A for several years and am in the “Chair” for Writers’ Ink here in Spain.

Joy Lennick and her books

Welcome, Joy.

Let’s talk school. First, could you tell us where you attended school?

Where did you go to school?

1937: Dagenham Infants school

1939: Twynrodyn Junior School

1941: Hunters Hall school

1943: Eastbrook senior school, Long Eaton senior school, Derbyshire

1944: Neath senior school

1944: Pitman’s College, London.

Did you attend a government, private or independent school?

All Government schools, except Pitman’s College, London, which was private.

What is the highest level of education you achieved?

Highest level: Pitman’s where I received various certificates for hand-writing/typing/shorthand and commerce.

What work or profession did you choose after school and was there anything in school that influenced this choice?

I started as a shorthand-typist, became assistant secretary and then secretary. Also assisted husband in running a greengrocery/grocery shop and became a hotelier.  I was then a Dinner Lady/School assistant and did voluntary work with the elderly before writing professionally.

What is your earliest memory of school?

My earliest memory at Infants school was writing my name in sand on a shallow tray and playing the triangle and the tambourine in the school band.

What memories do you have of learning to read?

I was immediately fascinated by the letters and words on a page and took to reading straight away. I read anything and everything: ingredients on cereal boxes, comics, etc., and was always lucky enough to be given books for my birthdays. I joined the library in MerthyrTydfil and devoured books from age seven — Hans Christian Anderson and the frightening Bros. Grimm, et al.

What memories do you have of learning to write?

As for writing, my father was a keen letter-writer (positive views on many subjects to the local newspaper) and wrote beautiful Calligraphy which I greatly admired and wanted to emulate. He kept stamps and made a few admirable displays with delicate work around each stamp. I was proud to be told I had a “good hand!” and of my hand-writing certificate. Shorthand later made it a bit scruffier…

What do you remember about math classes?

I had a problem with maths. Adding, subtracting, decimals and fractions was coped with OK but  if I was thrown a maths ‘puzzler’ I’d freeze…I coped fine when we had our shop, and did the accounts when we ran the hotel as it was comparatively straight-forward, but I much preferred English.

What was your favourite subject?

Most definitely English, and because of the very nature of war — between the years 1939,when it  began and 1945 when it ended, there were, periodically, huge disruptions in my schooling,  especially when the siren sounded. At such times, we were read to and had to ‘Read quietly!’ by ourselves, which I found a joy. I also loved composing stories and enjoyed spelling. I even wrote a silly play which was acted on the stage. Poetry also pleased my young ears. I was particularly fond of Hiawatha because of the delightful rhythm. I couldn’t take to Shakespeare when young but loved it later when, at the ripe age of 66 I finally took and passed the English Literature exam – much to the amusement of my younger peers…

Joy Lennick at age 4

What did you like best about school?

I made friends quite easily, despite being shy and was a chatter-box, in spite of the annoying habit of blushing if a boy spoke to me. In fact, I blushed a lot as I was often unsure of myself, but always enjoyed having friends at school. There was so much to learn, and I have always been a curious person. I was lucky in that I was never bullied and got on with most children, and was also fortunate with  the teachers, except for my maths teacher at Pitman’s who had no patience with my many questions…Miss Jones, my English and Games teacher at Pitman’s was my favourite.

What did you like least about school?

To be fair, the mores of the times were dictated by the state of the whole world, as very little was as ‘normal’ as in peace time. Some children were killed or injured and lost loved ones and air raids disrupted many classes, especially in London, Coventry, Norwich and many other towns. We children went back-wards and forwards to home and Wales several times in between the bombing for long weekends and holidays. And when I attended Eastbrook senior school in Dagenham, the bombing increased and the whole school was evacuated to Long Eaton in Derbyshire. It must have been a nightmare for the teachers to keep to a curriculum!

How do you think schools have changed since your school days?

There is no comparison between my schooldays and those of my three sons. Only one was bullied because he was more studious and wouldn’t join an unruly gang. Fortunately, the headmaster sorted it out. All three received a fair and satisfactory education. I have no grand- children to comment on present conditions but do have friends who were teachers. They both complained about the increased paper-work, which – apparently – is an ongoing problem for teachers today.

What do you think schools (in general) do well?

From my ten years working as a Dinner Lady and reading/poetry assistant in a junior school, I’d say that, over-all, today’s children are in pretty safe hands, education-wise. The technological strides forward are amazing, and I’m personally pleased to see more musical appreciation and tuition being introduced in some schools

How do you think schools could be improved?

It’s no secret there are a lot of problems in the world, generally – of course there always have been – but because of technology and the immediacy of news reaching eyes and ears, it is often exaggerated in our minds. Too much paper-work still seems to overload some teachers, and I wish there was more emphasis put on caring for each other. Not all parents are equipped for the job they undertook…(as my husband says: ‘You have to pass a test to drive a car, but any idiot can have a child…’ Religion should be discussed broadly, but taught and practiced in specific schools,  not mainstream, although children should be helped to accept and live and let live, when taught about caring.

thank you for your participation

Thank you for sharing your reminiscences of school and thoughts about education in general, Joy. How disruptive your schooling was as a result of the war. You seem to have overcome any obstacles that it may have created. It’s been a pleasure to have you here and get to know you and learn about your school days and your achievements.

Find out more about Joy Lennick

Website: https://joylennick.wordpress.com/

Contact her at joylennick@gmail.com

Or connect with her on social media

Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, Writers’ Ink

also a member of Authors/Bloggers Rainbow Support Club on Facebook

If you missed previous reminiscences, check them out here:

Charli Mills

Sally Cronin

Anne Goodwin

Geoff Le Pard

Hugh Roberts

Debby Gies

Pauline King

JulesPaige

D. Avery

Christy Birmingham

Miriam Hurdle

Robbie Cheadle

Marsha Ingrao

Ritu Bhathal

Look for future interviews in this series to be posted on Sunday evenings AEST.
Coming soon:

Darlene Foster

Susan Scott

Barbara Vitelli

Mabel Kwong

Sherri Matthews

Chelsea Owens

Pete Springer

with more to follow.

Thank you blog post

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your comments. Please share your thoughts.

 

 

108 thoughts on “School Days, Reminiscences of Joy Lennick

  1. Pingback: School Days, Reminiscences of Barbara Vitelli | Norah Colvin

  2. Pingback: School Days, Reminiscences of Susan Scott | Norah Colvin

  3. CarolCooks2

    I am loving reading all the different stories about school days …I remember my mum telling us about how they were evacuated during the war such terrible times and still, wars are ongoing so sad…A lovely series Norah 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. joylennick

      Hi Carol, Thank you for reading and commenting. It’s strange for me to imagine (truthfully) that I could be your Mum…OLDER….AGE IS WEIRD, as I certainly don’t feel ancient (my head tells me I’m still 40 while my body tells me something quite different…) Hey ho. I’m lucky to have lived so long..My husband will be 91 on Saturday and he’s amazing. Memory like a teenager: he’s written a Memoir which I had published for him, he shops, now cooks…and still drives like Stirling Moss! Enjoy your life in Thailand.It sound great, Carol. Best wishes.joy xl

      Liked by 2 people

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      1. CarolCooks2

        I certainly don’t feel my age ( in ) my head, Joy and you are a few years younger than my mum…I do think age much of the time is in your outlook and acceptance of the advancing years…Wow that is fantastic to hear I hope he enjoys many more years of good health ….I have certainly had much more energy since I have droppped my excess lbs….Yes I do enjoy life here thank you…I like being warm and it has certainly helped my hubbies aches and pains I am sure given his profession if he had stayed in the UK he would have more aches and pains due to the cold and damp…By the way, Joy I always think you look fabulous …Enjoy your week 🙂 xx

        Liked by 1 person

        Reply
        1. joylennick

          Steady on there, Carol – fabulous?! What a compliment coming from such an attractive woman!! You look great. (I have ALL photographs taken with the light behind me now…Such ego!.) As we now live in Spain – although a bit ‘ot at present – normally the good weather’s a blessing. Hugs xx

          Liked by 2 people

          Reply
          1. CarolCooks2

            There are coompliments flying in all directions today…haha…Thank you, Joy…I also check where the light is as it isn’t always kind….I thought you did we have had some great holidays in Spain….Hugs xx

            Liked by 1 person

            Reply
      2. Norah Post author

        I agree with you that age is weird, Joy. The older I get, the younger I realise everyone was when I thought they were very old. 😂

        Like

        Reply
        1. joylennick

          Hi Norah, I don’t think younger people realise what an odd ‘phenomenon’ age really is. When I read of ‘someone old’ I NEVER’ see myself in that category. The state of ‘being old’ should be known as ‘being OLDER’…l that I can handle…Tee hee. Hugs xx

          Liked by 1 person

          Reply
  4. Pingback: School Days, Reminiscences of Darlene Foster | Norah Colvin

      1. Marsha

        I’m so glad you are doing this series. They are definitely a community and I have been on the fringe. Your work has helped us get better acquainted. ❤️❤️❤️

        Like

        Reply
    1. Joy Lennick

      Thanks for reading and commenting Chelsea.When you’re a child, it’s amazing what you can get used to…Not that we had a choice! ‘Grown-ups’ are incredible too – one minute a housewife, the next a munitions worker. And what about the young soldiers..some just out of college/Uni. then given a gun to go kill someone…War is so evil isn’t it.Peace.x

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
  5. joylennick

    Hi Norah, I do hope I’ve thanked everyone for reading my words and for their kind comments.Sometimes, the site goes haywire and jumps back to the previous comment! Again, many thanks for your time and patience Hugs xx.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Hi Joy, I think you’ve done very well responding to comments. Thank you. I’m sorry to hear the site goes haywire. I wonder why. Sometimes it doesn’t let me know of all comments, also, and I’m sure I miss some. It’s hard to catch them all. Thank you so much for being a part of this series and sharing your reminiscences. They are fascinating.

      Like

      Reply
  6. olganm

    Great memories, Joy. I was also keen on learning to read and my father used to tell me that I’d ask them to read anything that was written, as soon as I could speak, because I was fascinated by writing and letters. And it’s endured! Thanks, Joy!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  7. Patricia Tilton

    What a pleasure to meet Joy! What a fascinating childhood. She’s lived such an interesting and exciting life. It’s almost like asking what hasn’t she done? I also found it interesting that the writing world found her — even though she enjoyed writing. Excellent interview!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks so much for reading and for your lovely comment, Patricia. I am enjoying finding out so much about these lovely people through their reminiscences. I’m pleased you are too.

      Like

      Reply
  8. Smorgasbord - Variety is the Spice of Life.

    Reblogged this on Smorgasbord Blog Magazine and commented:
    Norah Colvin’s guest this week on her School Days reminiscences is Joy Lennick, a popular guest here too.. Joy shares her school days beginning at an infant school in Dagenham in 1937… She also gives us a potted history of her amazing life including what she is up to now.. which is a lot of writing. Very enjoyable.. thanks Norah and Joy.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Sally. I think I met Joy over at your place and then she popped over here to read your school days post. I appreciate that you have shared Joy’s story with your readers.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  9. Susan Scott

    Thanks Norah for introducing us to Joy! You’ve lived an interesting life from the sounds of it Joy and clearly made good use of all the opportunities that came your way. That must have been a rude awakening to have so many children killed when you were but a child yourself ..

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  10. Jules

    A delightful read. Thank you for sharing your memories and views. I do think parents need some educational classes before becoming parents. Some schools actually have ‘parenting classes’ or had them. Where they pair up students who have to take care of a raw egg for a week. Others have a baby doll that they have to share custody with and have to keep a journal of how they have cared for the ‘child’. And if nether could care for the ‘baby’ they have to record who ‘baby-sat’! I did read that some of those students who took those courses were at least more aware of the challenges of getting up every four hours at night for feeding and changing etc. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      I wonder if anything can ever prepare one for parenthood, Jules. I remember doing a mother craft course at school in year nine. I made a beautiful scrapbook about caring for a baby’s needs. I’m not sure that it made me a better parent. Perhaps having seven younger siblings helped a little, but I’ve always credited the majority of my learning to my children. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      1. Jules

        I babysat – at least half the time for sleeping children. But I think that helped too – the real experience of all that energy in those very little bodies. And yes your children teach you many different lessons you’ll never read about in a book 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        Reply
      1. Jules

        My hubby always says if common sense were more common… well we wouldn’t have half of the negative stuff that we do have going around.

        Anyone with common sense can be kind and pass along kindness… One does not have to be an Earth Mother to respect the Earth. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        Reply
  11. petespringerauthor

    I never miss this feature each week, Norah. Thanks so much for this beautiful idea. My first thoughts after reading about Joy’s school experiences during the war was, “Shame on me if I ever took school for granted.” We tend to take things for granted until they are taken away from us.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      What a great response, Pete. Yes, we do tend to take it for granted.
      I’m pleased you are enjoying the series – such varied responses each week.

      Like

      Reply
    2. joylennick

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Pete. The teachers must have had a hard time of it in the war. And, of course, depending where the school was, often classes were very over-crowded because of the influx of evacuees.I know they were in Long Eaton, Derbyshire.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  12. Darlene

    I always enjoy Joy’s reminiscences. It would have been tough going to school during the war but it sounds like education was still highly regarded and carried on. I have met individuals who were evacuated to Canada at that time and educated there. Not quite as disruptive but a long way from home. Many returned as adults to make Canada their home as they had such good memories. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. joylennick

      Thanks, Darlene. The main trouble was the sllght differences between the various areas. The curriculum was different in Wales to the one in Essex. and different again in Derbyshire. It was often either behind or in front. I recall learning a lot about the Stone Age….but the extra reading was always welcome. x

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
  13. calmkate

    enjoyed reading a direct personal experience of schooling during the war.
    I’ve really enjoyed read some of Joy’s hotel stories, a gifted writer … no wonder she is in demand 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks so much, Ritu. Joy’s experiences are different from most who have responded and I found them fascinating from that point of view.

      Like

      Reply
  14. robbiesinspiration

    I find Joy’s blog really interesting, Norah, and have read her lovely poetry book. I also have her book My Gentle War on my TBR waiting patiently, I always seem to be behind with my reading even though I average 2 books a week. I enjoyed reading about her school experiences during the war. Fascinating.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  15. TanGental

    A lot of resilience was built in early, by those experiences. The disruption involved in that wartime education is beyond most of understandings and it neatly reminds we parents of today’s young people that children are tougher, more adaptable and with a lot more bouncebackability than we give them credit for. Thanks Joy.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      That’s a perceptive comment, Geoff. I wonder if resilience was a by-product, or just how things were. I think it’s something we need to encourage in kids of today. Or perhaps, as you suggest – let them be.

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      Reply
    2. joylennick

      Thank you,,,,Strange to think that even war can have its benefits – which sounds cruel to state. I for one shed many tears over the loss of such a dear uncle, aged 22, and all the terrible human loss of life.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

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