|Mrs. Elsie Evans|
|Ma Elsie Evans (English Literature Teacher Circa 1960 (8th Std at that, for me) – Miss Irene Rosair was my 9th & 10th Standard English Literature Teacher, Circa 1961/1962), along with Ma Hein Tin, were my favourite teachers although I was always in trouble with the first mentioned.Mrs. Evans used to call me her “Third Grade Pleader”, till the day she passed away.
– The Story behind this – :
In 8th. Standard – it was Science Lesson, but our Science Teacher was running late. The Class was having a Good Time – doing nothing and Voices were raised with ‘All Sorts of Nonsense being discussed’. On this occasion “All except MOI, I had not completed my Science Assignment, and was using the teacher’s late arrival to try and Complete this.
In walks Mrs. Elsie Evans, Tok, Tok, Tok, Tok, on her famed High Heels, which we could not hear in advance, due to the noise we were making, who had been passing by the Classroom.
She admonished us for misbehaving and making RRR or a Right Royal Racket, then ordered, “All those not doing their ‘English Studies’ step forward to the front of the Classroom” – this from habit, presumably.
Almost all of us (i.e. the braver ones, did, and I did too). One by one, we were asked what we were doing, this was revealed, and we got a whack and sent back to stand on our chairs till the Teacher whose Class it was, arrived.
When it was my turn, Mrs. Evans said, “WAGSTAFF, why did I know you would be out here !!!!! ?????”
I was then asked what I was doing, and replied “I was doing my Science Homework”. To that she said, why did you step forward if you were doing Schoolwork? I responded saying, No, Mrs. Evans, what you actually said, was, “All those who were not doing “ENGLISH”….to step forward, so I did.
To this Mrs. Evans replied, “Wagstaff – You, You, You, will never grow up to be anything but a Third Grade Pleader in Life” – The Nickname stuck and became a term of Endearment between the two of us.
[Note: A 3rd Grade Pleader was the person employed to plead for someone in Court, by those who could not afford even the least expensive, lowly lawyer.]
We corresponded once a year, and I would ring her every time I visited the UK and have long chats. Between the years 1960’s to the 1980’s I used to visit London, at least twice a Year.
In the late 1990’s I conducted a Tour of Art & Literature aficionados (we were 30 Strong in the Group), to France (for Bayeux Tapestry, Louvre, Musee d’Orsay, etc.), then to London (and on to Hay on Wye, the Book Town in Hertfordshire, Stratford on Avon etc.)
I requested my Group if I could invite one of the persons responsible for imbuing me with my lasting interest in English Literature (from Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part One – through Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner, Peter Grimes & Lepanto – from the “Book of Narrative Verse”, to Bronte’s Jane Eyre and others.
Miss Rosair was the other person, and I still have a Copy of The Book of Narrative Verse, signed or autographed by Miss Rosair in 1981, which she sent to me in Australia.
I invited Mrs. Evans to be my “Guest of Honour” at our Final Tour Banquet, in London, at the conclusion of the tour. Sadly, and with a lump in her throat, and a trace of a tear in her eye, Mrs. Evans declined as she advised me she was unfit to travel.
I offered to send a Limousine & Chauffeur to pick her up from Essex, where she lived, to London, put her up for the night in a 4**** Hotel in London for the night at no cost to her, if the day trip and late night return was too much for her, but she advised me she did not have the strength to do even this.
Not long after this, Audrey, her daughter, phoned me from Copenhagen, to advise me that our Late, Great Mrs. Elsie A. Evans had been called to the Big Classroom in Heaven.
Cecil L. W. Wagstaff