The highlights of the school year when I was at Groes were Christmas and St.Davids Day. St Davids was an spectacle with the girls wearing daffodils, Welsh traditional costumes, complete with tall black bonnets. The boys came wearing leeks, and bearing homemade shields and wooden swords. That morning all the women would be n their doorsteps admiring the parade its way to school. It was always half day in school on Patron Saints Day
Christmas was an event. The schoo Christmas Party was held in Margam Abbey church hall. Sponsored and paid for by te estate for the children of its workers, but a the pupils who attended Groes School were welcomed. In the hall large trestle tables were laid out with sandwiches of potted salmon,cucumber and egg , jellies blancmanges, custards, Chritmas cake and bottles galore of lemonade dandelion and burdock, timer. On the stage was the largest Chritmas tree we had ever seen surrounded by gift wrapped boxes. After gorging ourselves to excess our names were called out in turn to receive from Capt. Fletchers wife what we’re always substantial presents like dolls, nurses outfits ,wind up vehicles cap guns,etc. We were well drilled in behaviour, the boys bowed, the girls curtsied and we all said “thank you Lady Fletcher” To end the party she would wish us all a Merry Christms And we would sing “For she’s a jolly good fellow”.
Christmas at home was always special,starting with letters of wish lists up the chimney and complete belief In Father Christmas. On the day we would be awake at some ungodly hour, hoping He had come ,first the opening of our stockings, to find a tangerine in silver paper ,a torch , a comb, chocolates and perhaps a gasoline. The a mad dash downstairs to see what we had got. I can remember at different times having a toy fort with an array of lead soldiers,another time a huge Meccano set,were always well cared for
.One Christmas I can remember my older brother Elfed getting as air pistol and seeing Dad at the bottom of the garden bent over chopping wood,ever the rebel, he could n’t resist ands shot a dart hitting him in the bottom. It did n’t really penetrate his thick tweed trousers and wool long johns. It did produce a help, much laughter and confistication of the pistol for few days.
Every year we had chicken or goose,Chriztmas pudding for dinner then retire to the front room with loads ofvistors,Will Curtis at the piano and a continual sing song. After sandwiches, trifle, mince pies and cake it was bed tired but more than satisfied
Meanwhile,those who walk with the wise be come wise