Glad we all got that worked out - but man, how good was the school, eh? We also got to see such beauties as Romeo and Juliet - yes, the Olivia Hussey version of 1968 (must have got a job lot from that year) and The Car - a relatively recent bomb from 1977.
(Just to clue you in, I was not born when 2 of those 3 movies were made and was still a child for the other, so they were made several movie seasons before the school showed them as the weekend movie for the boarders).
Every Saturday night, we were compelled by the staff of the school to watch the weekly movie in the old chapel. This was to ensure that we let our parents know how well we were treated
You know that the 1968 version of Romeo and Juliet had a 15 year old playing Juliet? In the reel version shown at school, her voice was deeper than a grown man!
I went to boarding school in a town on the Tropic of Capricorn. You know, that ring around the world that says "mild weather" to the South of it, and "stinking hot" to the North?
The school year always kicked off in the heat of January, just as the cyclone season was starting to get a bit serious. Cyclones also knew the TOC line and respected it, always choosing to hover around it while it decided to create devastation to the North, or flooding to the South.
If far-flung boarders were lucky, one hit at the right time to delay their trip back to school for a few weeks - we were never quite far-flung enough to throw our timing.
Day girls could count on at least one good cyclone causing school to be cancelled and they could miss a day or so in the first few weeks - pity the plight of the boarder who was there. Stuck there.
Firstly, to fill the time, we had lots of "prep". Prep was when you had to sit in silence in a classroom with your school books and do whatever homework there was.
Of course, it mattered not to the boarding mistresses who presided over such torture that school had only been back a manner of days and we still had NFI what we were going to study that year, let alone do homework.
All that mattered to them was silence, it was bucketing down outside therefore they could not force us outside for a drenching (although they may have thought it well deserved), they could not leave us to our own devices in the boarding houses (because, OMG, consider adolescent girls cooped up in bedrooms for hours - and then multiply by 200) and maintaining silence - because
- (a) mistresses are badly paid women who should be able to do better jobwise, but life has dealt them a harsh blow and they are all recovering from breakdowns (okay, 90% of them) (and the other 10% will not be far off after dealing with boarders), and
- (b) far less rebellions succeed if conducted in silence.
Occasionally (like if it is the sixth straight day of cyclone warnings) the powers that be would rummage through the troves of movies available for hire in the reel version and take pity on us.
One such time was when providence sent the school such a title towards the end of one cyclone. Hurrah - the mistresses could stop haranguing us to do unset prep, they could coop us in one room with only one required to man the doors and the rest of the staff could take a well-earned tipple with the kitchen staff.
Unfortunately, the matron (who had been promoted to such a post due to her proximity and relative cheapness, not due to any aspirations to nursing) had thought Little Darlings must have been something like Seven Little Australians, which had met with such adult approval the decade previous.
It took about 20 minutes into the first reel before the sole mistress on duty discovered the mistake and raised the alarm - 20 minutes of such freedom had been unleashed onto very bored teenage girls, and then taken from our grasp as we were advised that the night's entertainment had been cancelled, and we could chose to do prep or watch a movie in the schools coffers (called The Turning Point).
But the disappointment was too great, really, and the moment of discovering teenage angst wrenched from our grip was too much for us. We chose prep over watching more grown women wrestle with theirs. We could do that anyway, any day - in prep.