Monday, May 09, 2005


I've written before about the importance of a thruppence[^], well 13 of em to be precise, to me in the past. But how about the importance of a single thruppence?

Not quite so important as it happens because single thruppences are associated in my memory with that obnoxious sunday morning torture known as 'Sunday School'. Yup, I had to endure Sunday School!

It started with my paternal grandmother. A good god fearing Christian. I'll never deny her the right to attend church. Nor, for that matter, will I deny her right to introduce me to it. What I will deny is her right to continue the torture beyond human endurance.

Things got a little better in July 1962 when we moved into our own house. Well they did for a short while. But sometime in late 1962 the olds decided that it behooved them to continue our Christian education. Never mind that they didn't attend church; they'd had to when they were our age and it hadn't done them any harm so it was only right we should be sent to Sunday School. Well that was the logic they used.

Thus we were harried off to Sunday School. The escort lasted maybe 2 weeks; once they were sure we knew the route we were left on our own. Which, of course led to certain, shall we say, derelictions of duty. In short, once we were unescorted we didn't go to Sunday School at all. Hence the importance of a thruppence. That was enough money, in late 1962, to buy a decent feed of potato cakes at the local fish shop and it was, to my thinking then, and now, a better use of thruppence than to drop it into a donation bowl passed out amongst the unwilling attendees at the aforesaid Sunday School.

It worked well until 1968. Understand that by then I was 13 years old and we'd moved to a new suburb. And my misfortune was that a Baptist Church was built across the road from our house in that year. Uh huh. Sunday School reared it's ugly head again. This time the olds didn't have to lift a finger or stir a limb to be sure we attended the hateful institution. Just stand at the front door and watch us as we wended our reluctant way across the road and into the jaws of boredom! By that time of course the expected donation had risen to 20 cents but we got lucky! Envelopes were distributed and it was the work of a moment to substitute a button nicked off my mothers best coat for the 20 cents!

I've often wondered, since then, what she thought had happened to those buttons! Next time I'm in Australia I just might tell her. I'm sure she'll laugh! Well, I hope she will. Ummm, maybe I should just keep stumm!

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