* The rest is history *
I just saw Mr. Peter Kornfeld, aka “Korny”, in my old school magazine. I had not set eyes on the image of this redoutable man for over half a hundred years. Korny was my Latin master and Fourth Form master in 1959, the year I arrived at boarding school.
At the end of that year, Korny took me into his Latin classroom. The one at the bottom left of the quadrangle block, with the giant immovable Wellingtonia outside, sometimes targeted for knife throwing. Mr. Tipping’s Physics lab was next room up. The massive and tuneless Break Bell was rung vigorously by hand just outside.
Suddenly, awkwardly, I and he were all alone. With unusual delicacy he began to break his bad news.
It had been noted that my early rapid academic progress and promise (I had arrived freshly “crammed” from a Chelsea Prep School) had stuttered, stopped and gone into reverse. Of course I knew all this. After all, my Preparatory school was boys only. They had not prep’d me for girls.
In grave and alarmingly uncharacteristic kindly tones, he explained that I would have to do the whole year again. It meant covering the same ground, and my group, my friends, would go on up to Group Five and higher things without me.
I could see I needed to help Korny out in his difficult mission.
I summoned up a superhuman degree of self-control over my facial expression and I stamped down hard on my body language.
Korny was descended from illustrious Roman gladiators. They ate lion for breakfast. His was not a shoulder to cry on.
Korny was relieved. I walked out into the fresh air and allowed my tense face to relax.
I was frankly overjoyed. Who was it in Group Three, who would now be in my Group Four? Why, it was the amazing Christine !