The Headmaster and his family

Old Deer: A local scene

I knew The Schoolhouse well—although always with great respect—it was the Head Master's house—and although I was welcomed and went there often—the familiarity never became less than respectful, such was the upbringing of the times.

But the Lows were our neighbours, and my parents were good friends to them & to the school.—They were members of a group of parents who performed all kinds of voluntary functions connected with the school—and the two younger Low boys were often my playmates. They had rabbits—hutches full of them and beautiful coloured cage-birds and an even bigger garden than mine. The rabbits were my favourites—gorgeous grey chinchillas and puff-ball white Angoras—their fur was valuable—and of course they had babies—such excitement.

Their house had a bathroom! and a huge front room—and a front porch-door that was never open! And they were a big family. Jack (oldest), Dorothy, Emma, Jimmy, Freddie, and Alec. The little gate connecting the Schoolhouse to the school was a favourite place for Alec to stand. He couldn't come to school (we knew that—but never questioned why) but every playtime he watched us at play. When I visited to see rabbits etc. he would be with us—but didn't speak. He "disappeared" and as children we didn't question this either.

But we kept an eye on the "Little Gate" for another reason. When it was time to go back into school the Major rang the hand bell—sometimes he "forgot" to take it with him (when he went "into the House" at playtime and dinner time) and we were supposed to watch for his appearing through the gate. "I saw him first" was a favourite ploy of the boys—and the girls seeing them run would rush into their "lines" too!

Looking back I now realise that the folks in the Schoolhouse were quite isolated from those of the village. The boys never played anywhere, except our croquet, and I don't recall Mrs Low ever being at anything. Was this because they didn't want to mix? Because they were "apart" as the Head Teacher's family? or some aspect of Major Low's nature?—No bad behaviour allowed—so no chances taken.

(Revision date: Tuesday 21st February 2012)