Illuminations: An Anthology of Welsh Short Prose

By Meic Stephens | Go to book overview

Good Morning, Lloyd

D. Tecwyn Lloyd

I was standing in front of the White Lion Hotel in Bala at about a quarter-past-nine one morning in the early summer of 1967. I was there to meet some people from the BBC, because that day and perhaps the next we had a television programme to make about the town and district, and especially about the people and places that had counted in my life there once and if only in my memory still count for something today.

As I stood there, expecting to hear doors opening, so to speak, and looking about me without thinking of anything in particular, I saw a stout, squarish, straight-backed woman stumping up the High Street, and immediately recognized the masculine, military bearing, the heavy tweed clothes, the substantial, unfeminine, brogue shoes, and the splayed feet that filled them. None less than Dorothy Jones, B.A., who had been headmistress of the County Intermediate Girls' School in Bala when I was a sixth-former in the Boys' Grammar School in the same town. She had been our History teacher, with a class of boys and girls, for the year 1932.

Now I couldn't recall ever having seen her to speak to since 1934, the year I had left school, and she probably hadn't seen me. It's a heck of a time, thirty-three years, a third of a century, and as she came towards me I hesitated for an instant, wondering whether she would remember me; and I also tried to work out how old she might have been. She must have been well over eighty, but before I could do my sums, she was upon me. I turned to her and greeted her. 'Good morning, Miss Jones.' She stopped and looked at me through her spectacles for a moment, exactly as I had seen her do when some distraction had interrupted her lessons in History all those years before; and then, without hesitation, she replied, 'Good morning, Lloyd'. At those three words, her tone and especially the bald, unprefixed 'Lloyd', the heavy rags of my years fell away and in an instant it wasn't the pavement of Bala High Street in 1967 that was under my feet but that of 1932, and instead of a man turned fifty, I felt once again as if I were a seventeen-year-old lad, one who hadn't won much approval from a headmistress whose iron rule had been more unremitting than that of any abbot of the strictest order. A formidable woman, indeed, the very archetype of every such woman who has ever been.

-156-

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