Midnight feasts and an owl in the dorm!

Updated: Nov 21, 2018

Sheila Lewer (nee Hoyle), Class of 1955, shares excerpts from 2 letters written to her mother during her time in the Boarding House...


This was written in December 1952 at the time of the Christmas parties:

“On Saturday we had the house party, we played some games and then we had the supper dance and a boy called Brian Allen asked me to dance. After supper we played a game where people’s names who were in residence were scrambled up (mine was one of them), this boy and I won we got 21/22 I won a box of Kieller Peppermint fingers and he won a box too. However Jill (Stansby) left her partner and tagged on to us so I had to give her half of my box (I was dead narked). We had arranged to have a midnight feast but the prefects did a daft play at the house party so they didn’t get to bed till 12 pm. There were 5 of us and I was just opening the bottle of Tizer and it went Pish! One of the prefects said “I bet it is Sheila Hoyle or Susan Price or Pat Chiverton." We thought they were talking in their sleep so we kept quiet, then they said come here, so we went and they said fetch your grub, so in the end we all had one together, 10 of us in the prefects cubicle. We made a heck of a row and we didn’t get to bed until 1.20am!! We were full, I think we would have spewed up if the prefects hadn’t found us.”


This was written some time in 1953:

“We started with mixed supper tables on Monday and on Tuesday ours collapsed at one end because the screw was loose. Well, all the milk bottles, the plates,knives, bread, honey dish and butter crashes to the floor just as we were standing up for grace. Well honestly, I thought I would burst. The honey dish broke and the milk came pouring out of the seven bottles, and made a stream halfway up the dining hall with all the straws floating along it. We had to clear up the mess.

On Wednesday night Joan (Burton) and I were woken by someone saying “Joan, Sheila wake up there's a bat or something in the dorm. We came to, it was 11.30 and next minute the lights came on. We had our curtains open so as we could see everything. It had perched at the end of a girls bed. It was an owl! She was dead scared, she had to crawl out through the end of the bed. Then all of a sudden the door opened and in walked two males! Mr Smith and Mr Baker. Panic! When they arrived on the scene the owl rose in the air, hovered over Stella’s (Hodges) bed then dropped. Stella was still asleep and she felt something and looked and there was an owl on her pillow. Well, she bounced out of bed with a scream and stood shivering outside her cubicle. Then Mr Smith and Mr Baker charged past her. She nearly dropped, she thought she was having a nightmare. Well in the end they caught it and Joan and I went to have a look, then the whole dorm followed. It left droppings over several beds but it was a lovely owl. There was a terrific scandal about it the next day.”


Sheila (right) with her oldest friend and fellow Old Waconian Joan Owen (née Burton) ca. 1954/5.

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