Searching the Web, I have not found any mention of my first school in Belfast, Brackenber House School. Therefore, I dedicate this page not only to Brackenber House but to a time of my childhood (age 4-12), my experiences and thoughts as well as what I saw Brackenber to be! You are about to meet my teachers:
Mr John Craig (AKA Keego) - Headmaster: A fair/strict man, good sense of humor though and an excellent teacher (taught my father also). Taught Latin, English, History, Maths!
Harvey Cross - (AKA Harvey WallBanger) Taught English and Maths. He was also the soccer coach.
Dennis McGowan - (AKA - No, no, no, This is not Good!) A dear man that helped me alot and was a fun teacher.
Miss Rankin (AKA - RagBag) Taught Maths, English and French. Always wore a leather thumb cover (never knew why). Good teacher, but was scary at times, I was saved by the bell a few times from having to translate French.
Mr McQuoid (AKA - Frog) A kind man, but a little rough around the edges. A minister originally. Taught: French, Scripture and English. He could be quite stearn sometimes!
Mr McGuire (AKA - Picker and/or Fusebox) Nice guy (I always had alot of respect for him), he got his nickname by using his glasses (the legs) to pick face (not as bad as it sounds). I would say he was one of the smartest teachers we had at Brackenber. Taught Latin/Greek Mythology, English, Geography. He was mild mannered and ran the chess club which I did join from 1981-1982 (was not a geek squad, restrain yourself).
Mr Bull (AKA - Mr Bull) P.E. teacher, always had fun in his class!
Mr Laverty (AKA - none) Science teacher. Everyone loved him, he made class fun.
Mrs Horne (AKA - Horno) Taught History but her main thing was music. She tried to be a good teacher, trips to concerts (orchestra that is) and drinking Dr Pepper at Armagh observatory were the best memories of her. Otherwise, her temper, she had a bad one (Judge, a kid in the Form above, kicked her after she gave him a good slap across the face). Mr Bull was always intervening between her and the kids.
Going back to ages 4-6. Lower Kindergarten was Mrs Russell. We were on the third floor and she tried to convince me that Dad, waiting down by the gates was as tall as my thumb. I did not buy it, I was 4, don't kid a kid. I really remember that! Mrs English was upper Kindergarten, was good with Arts, made pottery in her class. Mrs Abernathy was Transition. Just remember gettin a thumbtack stuck in my knee crawling under her desk!
Here is quite a list of just some of the shows I used to love to watch: "Blue Peter", "Rentaghost", "George and Mildred", "Terry and June", "Butterflies"
My favorite shows were: "Grange Hill" (Tuesday's and Thursday's around 5:30pm); "Cheers" (Friday's on Channel 4 (there only where 4 channels back then, used to be 3 (BBC, BBC2 and ITV) until Channel 4 came around in 1980)at 10:00pm) night, "Cheers". "The Young Ones" was another funny comedy at the time. On Saturday nights was a scary series called "Hammer House of Horror" and then on Sunday nights was a show with a twist called "Tales of the Unexpected". I also used to lie on the table in my room doing my homework around 6:00pm on a Friday watching black and white shows like "Flash Gordon", Charlie Chan" and "Sherlock Holmes" starring Basil Rathbone. Of course on Saturday mornings, there was Noel Edmunds and the Swap Shop.
In 5th Form and 6th Form I went to Prep which was just Homework time after class from 5-6 o'clock. We'd play cops and robbers in the darkened school while waiting for my Mum to pick me up. It was quite the atmopsphere, the school building was very old and kind of spooky at night.
Gran Geddes lived right around the corner at 84 Malone Road and she used to pick me up occasionally. Those afternoons where spent building little Bon fires in the back garden or rummaging around in the attic finding my Dad's old Eagle comics (Dan Dare and the Mekon).
Some of my favorite experiences at Brackenber: Playing cricket at the school cricket nets during the Summer before I was either picked up or rode my bike back home after class. Playing snooker and pool in the Prefects room. Being on the
First XI, winning my Colours (White Patch on the Blazer - see School Photo) and taking the ferry to go on a soccer tour around England (undefeated). Playing games like Kick the Can, British Bulldogs and Patter Tennis during break. Last, but not least, the end of year school waterfight which happened right after the Summer School Play while all the parents were having drinks upstairs with the Headmaster.
Brackenber closed a few years later (not enough pupils). My little brother had been attending but went to Cabin Hill when Brackenber closed. I went to 3 Old Boys Dinners (with Dad, Old Boy too), one at Brackenber and two at the Thrupenny Bit after Brackenber closed, in Belfast by the Kings Hall (Home of the Motor Show, Home Improvement Show and Funderland (Fan Dabby-Dosey! Never Mind). Well, this was my school, and it was very special place. Oh, and Dad, I won't forget my counterbox! ;)
As the last large class of Brackenber (Form 6A and 6B had a total of 26 people), we were the last ones really to represent the
school, well, up to the Brackenber Standard. In the words of John Craig, we were "The Last Of The Summer Wine"!
Form 6A were:
Peter Fetherston, Alan Douglas, Gregory Dunlop, Jonathan McCullough, Nicky Bryson, Andrew Morrison, Jonathan McMaster, Mark Jefferson, David Halliday, Jeffrey McCormack, and of course myself.
Notable mentions for Form 6B:
James McMurray, James Stevenson, Stephen Wood, Neil Finlayson, and Colin Graham.