#1 How Music Saved Me

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If life is a journey, turning point’s  become very important, and they probably start in our teenage years, with questions such as; What do you want to do when you leave school? And the answer is something like; How should I know! Or I don’t know what I’m going to do! I was no different from any other teenager until I was 13 years old, but I’ll give you a little background information before I get to that age.

Until I was 10 years old I lived in Edinburgh with my parents and my 3 younger brothers, but moved to Kilmarnock on the west coast about 70 miles from east to west of the country, which is not that far, but for me it was as if I just landed on Mars, and my first day at school, I was treated as an alien from Mars.

I don’t remember much about the school I left behind but I never had any problems with it, this was certainly not the way it was at my new school. When the school bell rang I made my way home but I didn’t get far because I was jumped on from behind by a boy  whom I didn’t know or remember, but he did have a twin brother who joined in, so I was fighting both of  them. So it was, from them and others, for a long time, I don’t know why I wasn’t liked at the school, but I start to form a deep dislike for education.

The next humiliation was the 11-plus exam so called because it was and exam that decided your educational future at 11 years old, for high, middle or lower secondary school. I worked out quickly,  that the information in the test was nothing like I had done in my old school, so I failed and had to remain in the secondary school that was part of the primary school I was already attending. I new that I wasn’t stupid but I did think I was being treated that way.

So I became a rebel, and I was not going to be ruled or bossed about by anyone, students or teachers, so I just got into more fights and was punished by teachers for talking back to them. The punishment in Scotland was the use of a thick  leather belt to strike the hands, I was so rebellious that I would refuse lines and took the belt instead. (see the images)

I found this sample of 11-plus papers, and I thought you might like to have a go at what 11-year-olds had to cope with from the end of World War II until the 1970s. See if you can manage these. Remember, you are 11 years old.

1. Divide 460731 by 7809. (calculators were not invented yet)
2. Form verbs from the following nouns: Proof, refusal, variety, provision.
3. One number in this sequence does not fit. Find this number and underline it: 4, 9, 14, 18, 19, 24.
4. Imagine you are a cat. Describe an interesting day in your life.
5. Correct the following sentence: Neither Holland nor France are rich in minerals.

The next blog in this series, will start with the turning point, which is joyful compared to the above story.

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