Only playing firemen
We had been playing firemen. There was no roof in the boys’ toilet, across the playground at Downshall Infants School. I can’t remember my companion’s name, but I remember standing with him, outside the headmistress’s office after school as the other children left us there and a late-afternoon hush had taken over the school. Both our heads were bowed as we waited for the end of the world and Mrs Knapman.
Why should we simply have peed up the wall, when we could pee over it? At six, it’s great to play at being a fireman, especially if you are equipped to dowse the flames on the other side of a relatively high wall? The trouble with imaginative play such as this is that we failed to imagine the effect on passers-by who were of course unaware of the dangers around them until it was too late.
One of these passers-by, a lady with a large hat, must have found her way into the school to complain that she had been thoroughly sprinkled. Now I can imagine her anger. Soon we were removed from class and stood outside the classroom on the other side of the large hall. Soon the bell rang and the other children left the building to go home. Then there was silence.
Sixty-three years on I cannot for the life of me recall being punished in the usual sense. What I do suspect is that the wise Mrs Knapman left us for a fair while to ponder just what was coming our way before issuing a good telling-off and sending us on our way.
What does the writer suggest with the words, “….we waited for the end of the world and Mrs Knapman.”?
In the last sentence the writer calls Mrs Knapman a wise woman? Would you agree? Why?