Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Joyce's Memories of Pam

I shared digs with Pam in the 1st year, and before going to Saffers at the start of the first term, I'd been informed that I would be sharing accommodation with one Pamela Hitchcock. In my mind I began to conjure up the worst possible scenario of what she might be like. I imagined her willow - thin with long blonde hair, chain smoking and constantly playing Rolling Stones records.

How wrong can you be?!

Larking around in Saffers town in the First Year with Pam and Sandra

Pam had already arrived at our digs when I got there and we took tea with our landlady, Miss Harper, who was Deputy Head at the primary school on South Road. She was OK, a bit of a stick sometimes, but more a bit of a lad at others. We liked her & we all got on well together for that first year.

She lived in a corner plot dormer bungalow, overlooking one corner of the the Common. We walked past the Maze most days on our way to College and in summer when the windows were open we could hear the local madrigal society rehearsing on
Thursday evenings in one of the nearby houses.

Our room was the large upstairs dormer. We had plenty of space to spread our work out on the floor, we sometimes used to fight to use the one desk under the window and we often laid in bed chatting and giggling until we fell asleep.

Pam patiently taught me to play the guitar. She was a very encouraging teacher and as I was learning and improving, we would strum and sing together up in our room. I remember some of the songs - "Oh sinner man", "Kumbaya", "Rock my soul in the bosom of Abraham", "The House of the Rising Sun", "Little Boxes" and "Jamaica Farewell", just to
mention a few! Thanks to Pam's tutoring and encouragement I went on to run guitar groups at the schools I taught in, and was able to pass on this pleasure of music and singing to many children.

With Pam, Gerry & Lynda when we went to see the Boat Race, March 1966

Pam and I both did Pottery main course, so we spent 3 years working alongside. She was a far better potter than I was as she could throw quite well and I was hopeless at it. For one project, we sculpted a bust of each other (just the head). We worked on these, modelling each other in earthenware clay simultaneously, needing to stand still in turn so the other could get a good look and translate it into clay. It all took ages. Then we made a cast from the modelling and eventually ended up with each other's heads as a "trophy". After we'd left College, the first thing each of us would say when we were in touch was "Have you still got my head?"

I always kept in touch with Pam and somewhere (I've not come across it yet) I have a photo of her & Rob on their wedding day. She looked lovely in a long pink flowered dress. I'll put it on our blog if I find it. Barry & I went to see her when she was ill. It was so sad to see her suffering and in pain, but her spirit and sense of humour were still very much in evidence. We talked a lot on the phone when she was having her treatment and my memories of Pam are all happy, positive and joyful ones. She's still around for me because when I look at the pots I made, dotted around the house, I remember making them alongside Pam and all the fun we had together in the pottery room.

Next time I'll write about the frightening experience we shared at our digs one weekend. It was one of the most scary experiences I've had.

1 comment:

Jackie Hutchison said...

Just like you Joyce, I took groups of children to teach guitar at school, as well as teaching my own children, so Pam's music lives on in scores of children