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 Post subject: Were the girls lonely after leaving school?
PostPosted: 23 Aug 2016, 13:50 
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The CS was such a busy and active place what with academic work, plays, fetes, assorted sports activities (water sports in summer terms and winter sports in winter terms). I often wonder if the girls were rather lonely or bored when they left school. The girls were from different parts of the UK and in many cases, different countries, so it wouldn't be easy to keep in regular contact afterwards.


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 Post subject: Re: Were the girls lonely after leaving school?
PostPosted: 23 Aug 2016, 15:01 
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Jo makes a comment about this in "New House"

"I shall just stay at home, and help with the children, and practice my singing, and so on. It does not appeal to me after the full life we lead here-it seems so-so little, somehow. It's just doing little bits of things that aren't important"
(The Prefects Opinion p29 hb, p19 Armada)

Jo does spend a lot of time visiting and calling on friends, and has such difficulty staying away from the School that she's back on the very first day of the first term after she'd left. Jo's probably in the worst position as the School has literally been her home and therefore she hasn't a separate "holiday-and-home" social circle.

The situation can't have been as bad for many of the others. They would have been going home regularly and presumably had, at least acquaintances and family friends there. Also, there's a strong likelihood (at least the British contigent) of having access to organisations like the Guides, sports clubs (if you like that kind of thing), church groups, etc.

Keeping in touch would have been harder in that you aren't going to casually nip off to another country but people would have been used to spending a fair amount of time writing letters to each other and keeping up that way.

Frieda talks about a "different kind of happiness" and really that's what would have happened to most people. They'd have formed other friendships and found other things to do


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 Post subject: Re: Were the girls lonely after leaving school?
PostPosted: 23 Aug 2016, 18:00 
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Some girls go home to help mother or to be a mother's help (to Joey!)

Throughout the series but more towards the later part, several girls go to work straight after or they go on to further education, so in either case I don't think they'd be bored because they'd be busy with all their new experiences.

As Victoria says, even when the girls stay at home they'd be busy with various housework, shopping, giving the younger children basic lessons (I think Beth Chester does this for Mike before Mike gets sent to the tutor who later becomes Beth's husband) and being a general companion to 'mother' - and that's without church and other outdoor pursuits.

I think if they kept up their friendships then they'd go visiting for a short break every so often.

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 Post subject: Re: Were the girls lonely after leaving school?
PostPosted: 23 Aug 2016, 18:21 
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I think girls who lived in or near towns would find friends or at least companions. A well to do young woman who didn't have to work for a living would be expected to help out with things like Guides, Sunday School, other local organisations. And there'd be tennis clubs, concerts, dances and other social activities.

I think for brighter girls, even those who weren't necessarily very academic, there might have been a lack of intellectual challenge. Beth Chester, for example, has a degree, but went home to teach Barbara, then went as mother's help/governess to Joey - no suggestion of a career.

Did Blossom Willoughby keep up her tennis when she went home to 'help mother'? Unless she had top class coaching, and was able to enter tournaments against good opposition, she wouldn't have made progress.


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 Post subject: Re: Were the girls lonely after leaving school?
PostPosted: 23 Aug 2016, 18:45 
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JayB wrote:
I think girls who lived in or near towns would find friends or at least companions. A well to do young woman who didn't have to work for a living would be expected to help out with things like Guides, Sunday School, other local organisations. And there'd be tennis clubs, concerts, dances and other social activities.

I think for brighter girls, even those who weren't necessarily very academic, there might have been a lack of intellectual challenge. Beth Chester, for example, has a degree, but went home to teach Barbara, then went as mother's help/governess to Joey - no suggestion of a career.

Did Blossom Willoughby keep up her tennis when she went home to 'help mother'? Unless she had top class coaching, and was able to enter tournaments against good opposition, she wouldn't have made progress.


Or Julie Lucy (?) who wanted to be a barrister but then had to give it up because she was to be married, and Daisy also.

Re Blossom: your comment reminded me of Katharine Gordon who is very good at tennis. I wonder what happened to her, if she ever made it.

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 Post subject: Re: Were the girls lonely after leaving school?
PostPosted: 23 Aug 2016, 19:01 
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I think Kat Gordon was planning to go to Bedford to train as a PE teacher. We never hear about her having a tennis career. She'd only have been in her early 20s when the series ended, but professional sports people do start young. I think EBD forgot about her, but it'd be quite realistic if she didn't make it. Being the best at your school, especially if it's a school which doesn't play competitive matches and isn't involved in the county scene, national junior scene, etc, doesn't mean that you're going to be a world beater ... although it does for all the musicians in CS-land. My dad was at school with a boy who was the best footballer the school had ever produced, and they all thought he was going to be captain of England, and in the end he never became a professional player at all!

Madge became very involved with the Women's Institute, the church ladies' committee, charity bazaars, etc, and presumably met new people that way. That sort of thing isn't for everyone, but they'd have had to adapt to their new circumstances. It must have been strange if most of the other young women of their age had been to a local day school and already knew each other, though.

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 Post subject: Re: Were the girls lonely after leaving school?
PostPosted: 23 Aug 2016, 21:49 
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In EBD's first book, "Gerry Goes to School", the eldest daughter of the house, Margaret, has only fairly recently left school, and you can feel how aimless and bored she is. She gets engaged to the curate, and it really seems to be out of desperation rather than love!


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 Post subject: Re: Were the girls lonely after leaving school?
PostPosted: 24 Aug 2016, 00:58 
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I can see how post-school life could be boring for girls without a firm direction. If they're getting married, or working for a career, or getting a job, or have ambitions for something like music, or tennis, they'd have something new to work towards. But if they're just returning home to a quiet house with servants to handle the work, it could be a letdown.

EJO touches on this with some of her girls, the well-to-do ones who want to do *something* more than socializing, but aren't permitted to work for pay, and don't have any strong drive towards university. Jen Robins, for example, is taken out of school at age sixteen to be company for her parents, who live on an isolated estate in the country.

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 Post subject: Re: Were the girls lonely after leaving school?
PostPosted: 24 Aug 2016, 05:56 
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[quote]younger children basic lessons (I think Beth Chester does this for Mike before Mike gets sent to the tutor who later becomes Beth's husband) [/quote]

wasn't this Maria not Beth?

Beth goes as mother's help to Joey, but also help keep an eye on Barbara in her first term school. Then when she leaves, Maria comes to help Joey and she meets the tutor when she accompanies Mike to Winnie Embury's hose.

Cheers,
Joyce

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 Post subject: Re: Were the girls lonely after leaving school?
PostPosted: 24 Aug 2016, 16:41 
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[quote="tartan-belle
Or Julie Lucy (?) who wanted to be a barrister but then had to give it up because she was to be married, and Daisy also.quote]

I've just read the relevant bit of Future and to be fair to EBD, it wasn't just because she got married that Julie had to give up her career as a barrister. It was because she had got married to a housemaster at a public school, which would have meant that effectively she would have another job. I think that this two-for-the-price of one attitude was pretty realistic for the time in certain professions (notably the Church!).


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 Post subject: Re: Were the girls lonely after leaving school?
PostPosted: 24 Aug 2016, 21:23 
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As i understand it, staying home to help mother was a polite way of saying they were to be trained to run a household, servnts and possibly an estate, while waiting for marriage.

But because expressing a desire for matrimony was considered indelicate, the polite fiction of mother needing her, was maintained.


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 Post subject: Re: Were the girls lonely after leaving school?
PostPosted: 25 Aug 2016, 02:31 
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[quote]It was because she had got married to a housemaster at a public school, which would have meant that effectively she would have another job.[/quote]

Even now the wife of the housemaster is seen as a substitute mother figure for the boys.

Didn't Prince Harry talk about how much help he was given by the wife of his house master at Eton?

Obviously his situation was very different with his mother dead and the media attention he was escaping, but you get the feeling that she was there to help all the boys.

Cheers,
Joyce

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 Post subject: Re: Were the girls lonely after leaving school?
PostPosted: 25 Aug 2016, 08:01 
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I've recorded a programme from Sky about a year at Harrow public school and it's mentioned in almost every programme about how busy the boys are kept and how the housemaster goes round their rooms every afternoon to make sure they're doing something and not just slacking. On youtube there's a follow up of some of the sixth-formers once they go to university and one of them can't believe how much free time he gets in comparison to being at Harrow.


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 Post subject: Re: Were the girls lonely after leaving school?
PostPosted: 25 Aug 2016, 13:05 
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Vera Brittain wrote about it in Testament of Youth, didn't she? The plight of an intelligent, well to do middle class girl in a smallish town. She did in the end get away to university, but there must have been many who couldn't or didn't for whatever reason.

I can see the argument that, in the depression era, a girl who didn't need to work shouldn't take a job from one who did. In heavy industry areas, sometimes a grown up daughter was the only one in a family bringing in a wage. But that didn't help the bored young middle class woman who would have benefited from having a job, even if she didn't need the money.


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 Post subject: Re: Were the girls lonely after leaving school?
PostPosted: 25 Aug 2016, 15:49 
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JayB wrote:
Vera Brittain wrote about it in Testament of Youth, didn't she? The plight of an intelligent, well to do middle class girl in a smallish town. She did in the end get away to university, but there must have been many who couldn't or didn't for whatever reason.

I can see the argument that, in the depression era, a girl who didn't need to work shouldn't take a job from one who did. In heavy industry areas, sometimes a grown up daughter was the only one in a family bringing in a wage. But that didn't help the bored young middle class woman who would have benefited from having a job, even if she didn't need the money.


Who is to say who had it hardest with different females and different classes.

My grandmother was given special permission to leave school at the age of 12 in 1912 as her father had died and she was the oldest if six. She became the chief wage earner in the family going into service.

I read the autobiography of the Scottish author and writer Molly Weir. She was born in 1910 and brought up with two brothers in the Glasgow slums. Her father died in world war one and Molly Weir's mother also supported her own mother.

During the Depression when work was scarce widows who were the family breadwinners were paid off before the men. Unfair? I would say so.

Some people would say that in comparison comfortably off middle class girls hsd nothing to complain about but yet... Imagine all the brilliantly clever girls in times gone by who would have made a real difference to the world of medicine, science, the arts even world peace but were not given the chance because they were female.

I know they say the hand that rocks the cradle...but it seems to me that at times only half the cradles had counted.


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 Post subject: Re: Were the girls lonely after leaving school?
PostPosted: 25 Aug 2016, 15:52 
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 Post subject: Re: Were the girls lonely after leaving school?
PostPosted: 25 Aug 2016, 15:57 
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Sorry! I am on my smartphone and "things" (me!) sometimes go wrong. Thank you, Ruth!


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 Post subject: Re: Were the girls lonely after leaving school?
PostPosted: 25 Aug 2016, 16:04 
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 Post subject: Re: Were the girls lonely after leaving school?
PostPosted: 30 Aug 2016, 13:40 
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I always feel for Blossom Willoughby going to 'be at home' - I understand that in her case, because of her very frail baby brother, she's more likely to be needed than would often be the case, but it always seems so un-Blossom like.

I also feel sorry for Rowan in AF, taking on the family farm - a totally different situation from 'being at home' but one I would not want to be in.

There's an Agatha Christie book (Marple I think) with a middle class girl who's left school and is just floating around doing nothing - she's a bit airy-fairy herself and neither her father or her step-mother cares about her so nothing much is done about her. It's a sad situation, especially as you think that that sort of lifestyle wasn't going to last much longer, and then what would she do?


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 Post subject: Re: Were the girls lonely after leaving school?
PostPosted: 30 Aug 2016, 13:45 
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Loryat wrote:
There's an Agatha Christie book (Marple I think) with a middle class girl who's left school and is just floating around doing nothing - she's a bit airy-fairy herself and neither her father or her step-mother cares about her so nothing much is done about her. It's a sad situation, especially as you think that that sort of lifestyle wasn't going to last much longer, and then what would she do?


The Moving Finger. And Megan's situation is resolved in the traditional way - marriage with the hero!


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