Celtic Illumination, part 42, Aer Lingus, private tuition and getting lost.
You may think that being expelled for the vandalism was quite wrong, especially as I had nothing to do with it. Apart from watch it happen. Of course it was quite wrong, but at least I was free. Unfortunately after the psychologist pronounced me sane, I was allowed to return to Violent Hell but as a day pupil. I was living with the O Hare family in Warrenpoint. This was a new experience for me, travelling to and from school every day on a bus. The school didn’t change. I think that the secret cabal who organised my training to become the world’s leading Master Candle Maker told Violent Hell to be even more vicious towards me. Perhaps they thought that my hand to hand combat skills, which were learned on the streets of Belfast and honed on the prep hand ball alley, had softened.
I walked into Violent Hell for my first time as a day pupil. I turned right, as I got to the main corridor, so that I could go to the senior corridor. The Wee Scut was waiting for me. I can’t remember the exact conversation but he appeared to take great delight in telling me that as I had not passed any exams at the end of the previous year, I could not become a senior. I would have to take my third year again. I didn’t pass any exams because I wasn’t there. I’d been expelled. They certainly knew how to torture a fellow, but not just was I being put back a year, up until then I had been in the ‘A’ stream, now I was in the ‘C’ stream. The stream where all the prospective social workers and teachers were.
There were one or two decent teachers at Violent Hell and these would have been the lay staff. Sean Hollywood would perhaps have been the nicest and it’s good to see certain public buildings in Newry named after him. The English teacher came to me and said that he would like me to cover the senior English syllabus in one year. I was interested. The mathematics teacher asked me to being studying applied mathematics, which I did and which I really enjoyed.
Eventually I began to get bored with the whole thing. My parents had bought a house in Warrenpoint and I had left the o Hare house and moved in with my parents. My father was now retired and decided to put his teacher experience to good use and allow me to have private tuition at home. He told me that I could either become an airline pilot for Aer Lingus or I could become a dentist. Neither occupation meant anything to me. In fact I didn’t really know what I was interested in.
Every evening I had one hour’s tuition from my dad. It was either an hour of handwriting, mathematics or English. Sometimes I wished that I could be back at Violent Hell. Now that I was walking from our house to the bus stop each morning I would sometimes get lost. I know it was almost a direct route and took no more than five minutes and it was all downhill, but as I walked along I would think about interesting stuff to do rather than go to boring Violent Hell. Now it was easy to, as we called it, bunk off. I would hide behind the toilets in Warrenpoint square and wait for all the school buses to go, then continue to wait perhaps anther ten minutes and then the day was my own. I would go to the docks and watch the ships.
Later I began to work as a barman and waiter in various pubs and clubs in Warrenpoint and would go there and work rather than mess about on the beach. But Violent Hell and I were not finished. Not after everything that they had put me through. There would have to be a suitably fitting end to my time at Violet Hell. Not just because I deserved it, but because when I would take my place as the best Master Candle Maker in the world, be declared the Chief of the clan O Neill and revealed as the true King of Ireland I wanted all those priests to hang their heads in shame.