The School Railings
Author: Jean Bentley
Written in response to ‘Figures with a Pram in a Street – Ystrad’ Ernest Zobole, (c1948-50)
University of South Wales Art Collection Museum
From a distance the painting of the lower reaches on Penrhys Road with its protective railings, reminded me of the old Ynyshir Infants School which my granddaughters attended in the 1990’s. The ladies in the picture with a pram are synonymous of any infant school gates at any time during history. I recall those halcyon days when visiting my family at Ynyshir and trudging up the never-ending hill to wait by the playground railings with other mothers, fathers or, like me, grannies.
Whilst waiting for the school bell, I observed the painted hopscotch grid in one corner of the yard, and a ladder that snaked its way before, satisfying the little ones who waited for their older siblings.
The doors opened and the little ones tumbled out when the teachers saw each child’s mother. “There’s my Nanny.” Christine called running towards me. A year or two passed and Catherine was in the baby’s class and played in the hopscotch grid, or stepped on each painted rung of the wavy ladder, patiently waiting until 3:30 when the older children emerged and we plodded down the hill again. If my daughter was with us, Christine took her hand at the kerb where the lady in bright yellow held up her lollypop in the middle of the road so that we could cross safely. Catherine took my hand and we skipped along the pavement singing.
Isn’t it wonderful to be grandmother, for you can do things not dreamed of at any other time of your life – and it doesn’t matter.