Thu, 26 May 2022 Today's Paper

Memories of a school girl in Ceylon, 1960

125th year celebrations of SACRED HEART CONVENT, Galle (1896 – 2020)

5 December 2020 12:58 am - 1     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

A A A

 

The echo of frenzied cheering ebbing and flowing like a wave from the open pavilion of the Galle Esplanade fill my ears as if it were only yesterday. I can hear Rev. Sister Rosina, Mistress of Queens Own House spurring me on fitfully on the loudspeaker in the open event cycle race. My spindly legs peddle furiously and perfectly navigate the tracks and breeze through the touch line to victory on an old rackety Men’s Raleigh bicycle, borrowed on the spot for the race from the school Watcher! Indeed, not many girls cycled then nearly fifty years ago, with the exception of tomboys and the posh girls from Colombo who were sent to our Boarding School; which functioned under firm but kind Irish and Belgian nuns. Yet oddly we were in awe of these posh girls with their ‘mod’ hairstyles, a far cry from our tightly plaited hair doused in coconut oil! But moreover, for they spoke the Queen’s English.


My three sisters, my little brother at nursery and I were privileged to walk through the hallowed hallways of Sacred Heart Convent, half a century ago. The decade beginning 1960 was thrifty era in Ceylon. It was the decade of Beatles, Elvis, Flower power and bell bottoms! We were school girls embracing an unhurried lifestyle, footloose and fancy free. Our precious parents paid for our education with their hard-earned money!


At the helm of the school as Principal was the much adored and celebrated Rev. Sister Adrian. Always immaculately dressed in a crisp white habit, she was soft spoken but firm!


The sprawling magnificent Victorian buildings of the school which spread extensively, exuded charm and grandeur. Their impressive long and open corridors decorated with imposing Roman arches harmoniously arranged around a quadrangle is where we hung out and had our daily ‘fix’. Yes, a daily fix of ‘achcharu’. The solid stone wall Chapel with ornate stain glass windows on the premises was an integral part of the school and the Catholic girls looked ever so sanctimonious therein with their dainty little face veils!


The ‘Parlour’ adjacent the Chapel was also sacrosanct and strictly no entry except during music exams. The dark brown floors therein were pristine and glistening; I could almost eat off the floor I surmised!


English drama and poetry were fundamental to our wellbeing. We thrived in the annual English Day celebrations, Shakespeare drama, Poetry, Oratory et al under the keen eye of Miss Orlene de Silva.  


Western Music and Singing were also high on the School’s agenda. The very first School percussion band was formed very modestly by our gracious Miss Malini Senanayake around 1969. One accordion being played by the musically gifted Priyadarshani Keerthisinghe and the other, attempting to emulate her wizardry sheepishly was the writer. And it was Miss Malini who trained and entered us to compete in the All Island Singing competition at Royal College, Colombo. The choir classic ‘Happy Wonderer’ in four part harmony was sung exquisitely by the school choir.


Sports too were an integral part of the curriculum. We were gluttonous for a 20 cents Aleric’s Popsicle that the tuck shop sold, and Nandanie Rajapakse my beloved Games Captain smothered us with Aleric’s’ ice cream when we played like Trojans and brought the Netball trophies home. Consy Rodrigo, Beatrice Bandara, Deidri Senanayake were like flying machines as they dominated the track and field. And the Boarders had a habit of climbing the grotto for a vantage point to peak at the road beyond Kandewatte canal to check if the boys from our brother school St. Aloysius College were hovering there like helicopters. 


Life was uncomplicated. We played outdoors avidly and immersed ourselves in hand me down books. It was ‘Robin blue’ that made our uniforms dazzling white and a charcoal fired contraption pressed our uniforms. There were no fancy trainers, only canvas shoes, slathered with liquid polish dripping like fresh cream! School days were happy and hauntingly memorable and our beloved teachers made all the difference. And to all my school mates scattered throughout the globe, for the times we shared in the spirit of unityin that once in a lifetime incredible journey as our motto reminds us ‘Cor Unum, Anima Una’…One Heart, One soul - may it be so, always!


Savitri de Alwis
(Vice Captain, Queen’s Own, 1970)

Order Gifts to Sri Lanka. See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Vegetables, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.

Sell your vehicle & house fast with hitad.lk only cost is Rs.400, Advertise in Hitad.lk for free to sell your mobile phone. Want to sell your Pet, Advertise for Free in hitad.lk Search for Houses in Sri Lanka and find the best place through Hitad.lk find your best tuition place. Find the best partner for you, visit hitad.lk Find anything at any time hitad.lk.

  Comments - 1

Order Gifts to Sri Lanka. See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Vegetables, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.

 

Sell your vehicle & house fast with hitad.lk only cost is Rs.400, Advertise in Hitad.lk for free to sell your mobile phone. Want to sell your Pet, Advertise for Free in hitad.lk Search for Houses in Sri Lanka and find the best place through Hitad.lk find your best tuition place. Find the best partner for you, visit hitad.lk Find anything at any time hitad.lk.

  • Kithsiri Warusevitane Sunday, 06 December 2020 07:46 AM

    Hi Savithri, I really enjoyed your wonderful article on your school. It was beautifully presented enabling me to bring my nostalgic memories of hostel life in the same era at Richmond College, Galle. Life was very simple, innocent and not complicated in that non digital era, when KLH and Aleric's ice creams costed only 20 cents. That was the time we all enjoyed life which we will never get back. All the best for both schools.


Add comment

Comments will be edited (grammar, spelling and slang) and authorized at the discretion of Daily Mirror online. The website also has the right not to publish selected comments.

Reply To:

Name - Reply Comment




Order Gifts to Sri Lanka. See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Vegetables, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.

 

Sell your vehicle & house fast with hitad.lk only cost is Rs.400, Advertise in Hitad.lk for free to sell your mobile phone. Want to sell your Pet, Advertise for Free in hitad.lk Search for Houses in Sri Lanka and find the best place through Hitad.lk find your best tuition place. Find the best partner for you, visit hitad.lk Find anything at any time hitad.lk.


Shocking inside stories of the sugar scam

In the backdrop of former Finance Minister Ali Sabry’s proposed plan to inc

Sri Lankans stuck between hunting for essentials and fighting for good governance

Sri Lanka, a tiny South Asian nation of 22 million people, is experiencing fi

Food crisis in Sri Lanka From granary of East to barren nation

A damning revelation by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) states th

The danger of Basil Rajapaksa’s rule by proxy

Last week, I wrote that the fate of the Ranil Wickremesinghe government would