©2013 Edward C. Lunnon
Friday 7 June 2013: 6 years 9 months on …
Thirty years ago to the month, June 1983, I arrived in Port Elizabeth for the first time.
I was born in Stellenbosch and had been raised in the Western Cape. After having finished my schooling in Oklahoma, USA and graduating from Stellenbosch University, I completed my military service in Oudtshoorn in 1982/1983.
In the possession of a Higher Diploma in Education and an Education Department Bursary to be repaid, I had applied for a position in Port Elizabeth.
The post had been advertised in the Cape Provincial Education Gazette in early 1982 at the beginning of my two year stint in the military:
“The Cape Education Department has a vacancy for a teacher to head up a newly established Port Elizabeth Computer Studies Centre based at the Grey High School for Boys.”
I applied to The Rector (!), Post Box X0002, Cooper’s Kloof 6002 – rector being a term unknown to me – and was duly appointed to the post based on my submitted CV and no interview.
In June 1983, during my “seven days” leave, I thought it wise to travel from Oudtshoorn to Port Elizabeth to view this computer centre and school at which I would be teaching.
Hence, my very first arrival at the Mill Park campus of Grey and my very first view of the magnificent school buildings and the Clock Tower.
I started teaching in January 1984 under Rector Dieter Pakendorf (together with some 15 other new staff members including André van Staden – now Pearson Headmaster and Mike Thomson – now at Michaelhouse. Sadly, most have left teaching.)
I was one of the first to leave. Although I left (twice but finally) at the end of 1988 after a five year stint of teaching to the lure of the business sector, it was an association with The Grey that has spanned thirty years.
I have written and spoken much about the events that occurred and the people that crossed my path during that time. They form a part of my tapestry of Life.
I never really lost touch with the school and returned often under Rector Simpson to address various groups on various subjects ranging from Information Technology to Industrial Relations and Management Principles.
Ironically, during my business career, the Company celebrated its year-end functions in the De Waal Hall and on two occasions I was awarded and promoted on the stage of the school hall!
Shortly after leaving teaching, Pera (then at Collegiate Junior) and I got married. Sean entered the world and entered Grey Junior in 1999 and matriculated from Grey High in 2010. Pera joined the Grey Junior staff in 2003. Phillip started at Grey Junior in 2002. I was now firmly a Grey teaching spouse and a Grey Parent.
In 2005, Rector Crawford asked me to assist in the accounting department and I returned to teaching for a brief term to assist the boys who were matriculating in that year with accountancy. (Interestingly enough, this was my major subject and one that was not offered as a subject when I first started teaching at The Grey. When Rector Pakendorf was quizzed on this by prospective appplicants he would refer the family to the Commercial School in Linkside. Grey, he said, was an ‘academic’ school!)
After becoming ill, diagnosed with corticalbasal degeneration and retiring in 2006, I assisted the schools with numerous projects including the perimeter wall, the Grey-V trains for parents to Bloemfontein, the Supporters’ Club, the Old Grey data base …
But, according to the old adage, all good things come to an end.
And so it is, in four month’s time, when Phillip walks ‘neath the Tower in October 2013, it will bring to and end my direct association of thirty years with The Grey.
The memories will continue. (As will, for a while, I guess, my being a wheelchair critic and accepting my now new title, the spouse of Mrs Lunnon from the Grey Junior School!)
I shall always be grateful for those memories provided by The Grey and for two sons who have been fortunate to receive their schooling at such a fine and proud institution.
Our thanks must go to the Rector, Headmaster and successive groups of teachers at Grey High and Grey Junior who have played a role in educating our sons, both in the classroom and on the playing fields. They are both fine examples of Grey Men, so take a bow, all of you who have assisted us in their upbringing and in their preparation for an unknown, uncertain and imperfect world.
I shall remain a proud member of the Old Greys’ Union – never to be an ‘Old Grey’; because, as I am constantly reminded by my Old Grey sons, if you were not schooled at Grey, not even a transfusion of Blue Blood, can make you an Old Grey!
TRIA JUNCTO IN UNO