School Badge
I - L

Marguerite Johnson (now Schilpp) (1949-1954)

I left after a few months in 6th Modern, to work, intending to apply for Teacher's Training College at age 18, I thought!   The Youth Employment Bureau sent me to the Caledonian Insurance Company, in their 150th year and I was employed in the accounting department, to my great, good fortune as they told me!   It was, because it was there that I made 'forever friends' with whom I'm in touch and see after 47 years. I digress!

I lived at Benton [Dad worked for 'The Ministry'] attended St. Bartholomew's, Longbenton, was a founder member of the Whitley Bay Figure Skating Club, sang with two skiffle groups and through a fellow HHS girl, Valerie Walsh, had the opportunity to come to the USA in 1958. She'd been in Florida for a year with a member of her family and introduced me to a family who wanted some one to help their six young children with their school work.   (You said life history, Dave!!)

I only intended to stay in the US for two years at the most, but here I am 43 years later, because of a man, of course!   Met John, was engaged in two weeks, went home for two months, came back and have been married for almost 40 years and have a boy and a girl, four grandchildren and consequently am stuck here!!

I entertained Dr. Henstock twice in my home and my kids called her Auntie Constance and my husband thought she was lovely!! Any 'Old Girl' wanting details, please email me - I couldn't believe it either! I have also had my form mistress, Olga Redhead, nee Gray [History], for the five years I was at Heaton, visit us.   At 82 she's independent and doing well and a great friend, as she was to me at school, though at the time I didn't appreciate it!

Margurite Schilpp, San Diego, California, USA

Janet LAWSON (now Hare) (1963-1970)

In 1963 I walked through the gates of Heaton High for the first time. We were herded into the first years playground then marched to our classes. I was put in 1A, a big mistake! After the first year exams I was moved to the C stream. Our seats in class were determined by our exam position, highest at the back. I always managed to stay second from the back, just! Looking back the teachers were quite unkind. No praise was ever given and mockery was used as a teaching tool. Doctor Henstock was an unpleasant woman definitely in the wrong job spending most of her days destroying the self esteem of countless girls.

Of course some of the teachers were fine. Miss Crabtree and Miss Graham were lovely although unfortunately they didn't teach me. Miss Crabtree would hand out aspirins if we were unwell. Things improved once the school went comprehensive and the wall came down. I remember Mr Taylor, Ron Cherry and my first crush, the art teacher Mr Pontin. He actually had an exhibition of his work in the Laing art gallery in 1967.

The sixth form in the newly built centre was wonderful. I did some of the catering for the opening night and three friends from the boys side provided a music interlude. One boy whose surname was Finklestein was a talented musician and produced three part harmonies for Moon River.

During my school years I went on various trips. 1964 the ladies hockey final at Wembley, 1966 the art trip to London and 1969 the trip to Lake Garda in Italy. In the sixth form my class were all aimed for teachers training and in 1970 I left Heaton and went to Didsbury college of Education in Manchester. I taught in Lancashire and Cheshire and have now retired.We adopted mixed race children in 1980 and 1983.

Wish I could find my best friend Susan Cantwell. Lost touch in 1970 and have been trying to find her for years.


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