Some Reward

Allan Haggerty

I was one of three children in our family born during WWII. Times were hard and we didn’t own a car, but that didn’t worry us as we lived within four miles of Sydney’s CBD and had the choice of several buses at the end of our street. However we were expected to walk to the local primary school about a mile away although we were each given a penny to catch the bus if it rained. If it didn’t rain, by the end of the week we could keep the penny which was the extent of our pocket money.

I remember the excitement of once finding a penny in the bottom of my school bag which I’d forgotten about and as to what treats it could buy.

In 1st class our teacher, who was no oil painting and in my mind was a similar age to our grandmother, conducted an occasional spelling bee. I was quite good at spelling and was motivated to do well as the prize was a penny. On one occasion I was the only one to spell chicken correctly (yes, I still remember the actual word). I proudly marched to the front of the class to claim my reward.

Imagine my disappointment to hear the teacher declare that she was fresh out of pennies and I would have to make do with a kiss on the cheek instead.