Where other kids received a thick red line through the middle of work that they had answered incorrectly on paper, the pupils ensconced within Mr. Ferris’s class did not receive such an inert and crimson alert in ink. Our red lines never landed on incorrect papers – but across the back of our hands or onto our exposed pubescent palms – this when aggressively asked to, “show-them!
Ferris could, in a flash, move his limp right arm from the side of his body with incredible speed – implementing therefore, a precision-like foray to the inside of his jacket to access the hidden belt from his left shoulder, then mercilessly lashing-out at any child who created displeasure in him.
Before long, and in a most covert manner, my school friends and I came to cheekily re-christen Ferris as “Quick-Draw-McGraw”. Come nineteen-sixty, things had improved significantly, Ferris was programmed to assume a new teaching role somewhere on the Scottish Borders and subsequently, each of his long-suffering pupils were scattered across the school’s educational infrastructure to intertwine with other classes.
My new pedagogue, one Miss Elspeth Hamilton from Kilmarnock, a stunning, blondish twenty-something with an hour-glass figure of Monroe proportion, became my next mentor…and my very first love – I was smitten from day one!
My adoration of her was both singular and absolute, not even Debbie Reynolds, Sandra Dee or Connie Francis could sway me into accepting that there existed a more beautiful specimen on the planet…I was ten years old and had experienced my final encounter with that that leathery rein of chastisement…Miss Hamilton never elected to use it on any child under her tutelage – sweet liberty indeed!
Unfortunately, Miss Hamilton did not wait for me and soon married another, however, I never have forgotten her grace and beauty – a divine presence that transported me from scholastic dread to educational accomplishment – and without the aid of medieval means – ecstasy -most certainly.