Jean McIntosh

 

 

Me

Jean McIntosh
Born in 1933

Lived in Escrick Terrace

 

Memories

Jean lived at 3 Escrick Terrace, the middle house. Her Grandfather, Thomas Morris, built the row of houses. Jean lived there until she married in 1954. Her Grandfather was also involved in building the 'big boys' school too. Whilst the Senior school was being built during WW2, the cellar type place was used as an air raid shelter. There were also air raid shelters where the Kent St car park is now.

Jean started school aged 4 and a half. The first class was known as 'the babies' and Sister Magdalen taught them. Sister Catherine was the head and was from the Vincent de Paul order of Nuns. Miss Coyle was there. There was a Miss Arrowsmith. Jean thinks there was a Miss Fineron too (In fact Irene Arrowsmith married Frederick Fineron in 1941. After his death in the war, Irene remarried and became Mrs Benneworth in 1954 - TR).

She made her first communion aged 8. The boys had white shirts and blue ties. The girls all white dresses and veils. The priest was Canon O'Connell. Afterwards it was back to school for a big celebration breakfast. The boys were given a blue rosary and the girls got a pink one.

Her friends and classmates were Jean Clarke, Sheila Belt, Antony Gilligan (Tony Gilligan lived in Wenlock Terrace and one day she turned up for his birthday party only to find it was not his birthday and there was no party! She had got all dressed up too. His Mother said she'd better stay for tea to make up for it. Tony played the drums and was good. They used to go on rambles together and once biked to Kirkham Abbey where Tony caught a grass snake and wrapped it round his neck like a necklace), Brian Douglas, Steven White (who went on to be a house master at Archbishop's school), Brian Meredith (Steven and Brian were cousins), Pat Hagan, Veronica Harrison, Brian Durkin (he was an altar boy). All the children played together and were all friends but she had three best friends, Pat Hague, Sheila Belt and Anne Rhodes (who lived in the sweet shop on Heslington Rd).

On the day of the scholarships she went to school in her best clothes (which was expected of them). She was wearing a tartan skirt and grey jumper. She felt like 'a million dollars'. It was also the done thing to have a new dress and a bonnet for Easter Sunday. Hats were always worn in church.

The school and the church were very much one thing and was like it all her school life. The priests she knew were Canon O'Connell and Father Breen. There was also Father Moynahan, who went on the be the Monsignor at St Wilfrid's. One Monday morning Sister Catherine asked as usual who had been to mass. Jean said she had been to church with an aunt, the church being St Cuthbertís, a non-Catholic church. Sister Catherine went absolutely mad! On Sunday there were four masses, 8am and 9-30am were the communion masses, 11am was high mass, a much longer service. In the evening at 6-30 there was another mass. It depended on which altar boy was on as to which mass Jean went to! She always went to the mass where the altar boy was the nicest. Her grandfather paid for her name on a brass plaque on a pew in church. She was sad to see it had gone when she visited many years later (after the church had been done up).

They had to go to confession on a Friday or Saturday ready for mass on the Sunday. Canon O'Connell was the priest for her first communion, confirmation and wedding to Jeff Hood. He also christened her daughter even though they lived in Acomb and were no longer in St Georgeís parish.

For her confirmation name she chose 'Magdalen'. Sister Catherine insisted that every girl had to take the name 'Mary' and put it in front of their chosen name - so she was Jean Mary Magdalen McIntosh. There was a boy in her class called Carlo Capaldi and Tony Gilligan wanted to call himself 'Antony Carlo Gilligan'. Sister Catherine said a firm no to this but said he could call himself Charles instead of Carlo if he wanted to.

Opposite the front door of the church (now the Tramways club) were two buildings. One was a very small one selling the Catholic newspapers and such things as medals and rosary beads. The other was a pub. If you wanted a normal Sunday paper you went to Ashton's newsagents, run by Sid Ashton. This was at the George St Bar. On Mill Lane, on the left was a brewery.

There were seasons in the playground and each season had its own activity such as ball games, skipping or running. One day Jeanís ball (thrown by another pupil) landed right in the middle of Sister Catherineís winged hat. Once again she went mad and demanded that Jean apologise. Jean would not as she did not throw it and she was a bit of a rebel and quite stubborn. Jean was also caned for arguing with one of the nuns about a spelling. The nun said she had spelt it wrong and Jean argued to the point where she got the cane. She would not back down on it!

Jean had no problems at school and was quite happy. She used to go to Low Moor on Heslington Road for picnics and also down by the river. When she was nine she got a bike and used to go out all day with jam sandwiches and water.

In the baby class lessons started straight away with the 12 x tables. They learned to read and write. In the next class up they started on sums and essays. There were no lessons like swimming or cookery. Food was rationed so no way they could use it to learn to cook and because of air raids they dare not go far, certainly not to the baths! There were no school trips either because of the war. No money and not safe to go too far. Nature walks were suspended too but pupils did sometimes go out to pick rose hips to make rose hip syrup for the babies during the war. They went to Fulford fields collecting them. At Christmas the partition was opened to make one big room and they had a carol concert to raise money for 'black babies'.

Jean remembers the day war broke out and listened to the radio as it was announced. She was sitting shelling peas. A policeman passed the window and she was told not to go past her aunt's door (next door but one) as there could be an air raid and she had to be close to home. On her 8th birthday she was due to have party for six of her friends but the air raid siren went off at 10 to 4, she was very upset! They all had to go to the air raid shelter at once. The all clear was given at 20 past 4 and the party went ahead.

Jean's Later Life

 

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