2 – At the Faculty School



I don’t remember the first day at the Faculty School. I only remember my sitting next to Genia Kluz, in the first row by a window. We had spent together, sitting at the same desk, all school years. Genia was sitting next to the window, and I on the classroom side. Every lesson started with a Christian prayer, during which Genia was praying and I was silent, but that didn’t prevent us from being close friends.

I forgot our form tutor’s name but she was a good, fair and strict teacher at the same time. She praised me as I was always well dressed and my uniform was perfect. Once, during a school assembly I was asked by a headmaster to step out and show to the others how a good pupil should be dressed. All the teachers payed much, even excessive attention to it. I also remember one event from my last school year. It was Monday, our first class, we were fifteen or sixteen then. Just after the prayer our tutor asked one of our classmates to stand up. This girl was Polish. She came to school having got her hair permed as her sister had got a wedding on Saturday. She made herself beautiful for the party and she probably didn’t want to get rid of her hairdo just after it. – Which girl is your friend? – the teacher asked. All of them are my friends- she heard. – So, which one is your best friend? The girl uttered the name. – Go with her to the toilet. Turn the tap on and help her wash her hair-the tutor turned to the girl’s friend, and then she told us: – A pupil must be modest. Don’t you dare to come to school with your hair improperly done any more. We were surprised but we fulfilled this command.

I liked our form tutor and she also must have trusted me as she asked me for a favour from time to time. She had a fiancé, who was working at a newspaper and sometimes she asked me to drop into his editorial office and leave a message from her, on my way back home. In fact, it wasn’t quite on my way, as the school was in Dzialynskich Street, we lived in Wroniecka Street, and the office was somewhere near the St Martin church. I still can remember its high bell-tower. Anyway, I felt blessed and I willingly served as a messenger.

I liked to be helpful and I had many occasions to prove it. Whenever any of my classmates needed help with solving a task, I explained it to them, usually in the corner of a schoolyard or by the fence. I mostly helped Trudka Gawalkowna, but later on she started to learn so hard that she became one of the best pupils. After school she got into a teachers’ seminary and passed the final exam with distinction. She was so good that she could choose any school she dreamed of, even in Warsaw. However, she surprised everyone and went to some out of the way village on Polesie to teach children. It might have been 1933. What happened to her later? I don’t know.