Dorfy's school days, with just pennies for uniforms

SCHOOL children in South Tyneside had barely commenced their summer break this year, when the shops started filling-up with uniform etc for the new term in September.

Our late dialect writer, Mrs Dorothy Samuelson-Sandvid, had her own views on schoolwear, which she set down in a piece, Dorfy's Views on Skyul Cla'es.

This is an extract from it, but please print it out if you wish to keep it.

WHEN Aa wuz a bairn, Aa alwiz had three sets o' cla'es.

This soonds a lot, considerin' w' waar hard-up folks, but the thord set wuz jist onny aad rags, that Aa put on t' save me skyul cla'es.

Me best Sunda' frocks had t' sarve that lang, that throughoot the whole o' me childhud Aa kin ondly remembor hevvin' three.

But skyul cla'es wuz another story. Aa wuz myed t' reelize varry orly in life that me skyul cla'es wuz a continual worry, an' the' had t' be tyuk care on if Aa wanted t' luk respectable.

When Aa forst started skyul, me cla'es wuz nee worry at aall, cass at the 'Board' skyul w' aall wore pinnies.

An' though some o' the bairns wore elabrit affairs, wi' embroidered yokes, an' goffer-ironed frills, an' bay-ribbon slottin', Aa wuz larn't t' hev a proper contempt for 'swank,' an' Aa felt happy enyuff in me plain unbleached Holland.

But when Aa graduated fre' Ocean Road penny-a-week skyul t' St John's Higher Grade two-bob-a-week skyul, class distinction begun t'operate.

Pinnies wazn't 'the thing' at St John's, an' me frocks had t' bear the light o' day.

So whenivvor thor wuz funds, Aa wud be marched doon t' 'the cheap man in the market,' an' me Auntie Polly wud choose some substantial moozey-coloured cloot.

But even in wor poverty w' cud be artistic. An' Aa wud spend a excitin' half-oor choosin' summack bonny for trimmin's, oot o' me Grandma's mat draar - wheor sh' kept the bits an' pieces o' coloured rags for myekkin' mats with.

Then me Auntie Miriam wud myek the frock an' syun Aa wud swagger t' skyul in it, feelin' that grand Aa wadn't caall the King me uncle.

Mind, Aa think skyul uniform is neat and sensible. An' Aa like the idea o' hevvin' dressed so that one's as gud as another - if it wawked oot like that. But in practise, it disn't.

Thor'll aalwiz be the 'better-off' bairn that shines in a tailor-myed ootfit o' super-quaality cloot that myeks ivrybody else's luk hyem-myed an' cheap!