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News > Our History > Manners are the making of man but sometimes the undoing of small boys

Manners are the making of man but sometimes the undoing of small boys

Desmond Fosbery remembers feeding boarders with sandwiches made by his mother in the late 1940s
1949 Sea Scouts parading on Sports Day
1949 Sea Scouts parading on Sports Day

Not least of the reasons for my having friends amongst the boarders was that it  became known that I carried a sandwich to school each day to eat during the mid-morning break together with the bottle of milk that was provided to every school-child by Government - a third of a pint.
Mother would prepare a sandwich to my daily wishes.  At first; usually peanut butter or date and apple, Marmite, occasionally jam - raspberry or apricot, sometimes plum. Gradually my ‘group’ of friends became a ‘pack of wolves’ attacking at each break time and then preferences began to be stated - ‘I want peanut butter’ said one, ‘date ‘n apple’ said the next. ‘Half jam and half Marmite’ another called out. ‘Half peanut butter and jam, half Marmite and peanut butter but don’t let them touch!’ another specified.
By now boys at the back weren’t even acquaintances, let alone buddies. Their orders became so complicated over the course of the term that I began writing them down. Poor mother unsuspectingly increased ‘my’ ration of mid-morning fare, pleased no doubt at her son’s healthy appetite.
One morning one of my regulars asked, ‘Would your mother make toast?’ ‘Of course’ said I, always willing to help these starving boarders. ‘Good, can I have toast and Marmite then?’
Gradually half the group wanted their spreads on toast, half on regular bread. By now mother must have been getting suspicious but said nothing. One evening I saw she was talking earnestly to Nanna, apparently about me. Next night I was given Worm Medicine! They had obviously reached their conclusion about my apparent wasting disease. ‘All that food, and he’s not gaining an ounce!’ mother had said worriedly confiding in the matriarch.
Though ‘manners maketh man’, sometimes they’re the undoing of small boys. Visiting the annual school sports later that year, mother was approached by a boy of the boarding set. Politely raising his cap he said, “Mrs Fosbery, we want to thank you for all those super sandwiches!’
A significant number of boys had marshalled themselves behind him as he delivered their thanks - and Oh, Mother - did I get a stern look once they had gone?


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