Saturday, 17 December 2016

Helen Goods previous letter regarding short trousers for older boys.

Obviously I owe a duty of care to past employers and the young boys I have tutored, but I will endeavour to answer your queries as best I can. Over the course of more years than I care to think about I have been witness to more than one instance where a boy, having been home tutored, has worn short trousers beyond seventeen. The mention of the school in Scotland reminded me that one of those instances occurred there but I shall not reveal the exact location even though this was many years ago. This particular boy's mother found it difficult to come to terms with the changing, modern world of the 1970's and sought to protect her son from, as she perceived it, it's immoral ways. Simon was dressed in traditional school uniform when I first encountered him, which included grey school trousers. I admit my first impression was that of a younger boy. Simon was sixteen at the time but, wearing  shirt and tie, cap and blazer,  originally I assumed he was a younger brother.

It was partly due my subtle recommendations of the benefits of short trousers that Simon was re-introduced to them. His mother was very encouraging in the matter if not a little annoyed that she had not thought of this herself, but nevertheless she and Governess invited me to accompany them when they took Simon to the boys outfitters shop in town.

As we sat on the bus that Saturday morning, Simon repeatedly enquired as to why we were heading into town, however we remained silent until we entered the shop. Simon was most perturbed to discover we were purchasing schoolboy short trousers and grey knee socks for him to wear during lessons and in addition some play shorts for him to wear outside of the classroom.

Indeed Governess had to tan his backside to cure his tantrum and it was a very tearful and subdued Simon who sat on the bus heading home and his mother sent him straight to bed upon our return.

It was part of my duties to report to his mother or Governess if Simon failed to present himself for lessons correctly attired and that first week he twice tried to attend lessons wearing longs. Although I always felt guilty as he would invariably be punished after I informed on him, I felt I had no choice and finally Governess confiscated his two pairs of long trousers.

Simon frequently attended Church, or the Kirk as it was known, on Sunday mornings, wearing his new style school uniform and not once did I hear adverse comment from any of the congregation or the minister, who was, I believe one of the earliest female ministers of the church, about Simon's appearance sudden adherence to short trousers.

When Simon was not wearing school uniform he wore his play shorts but these were quite a bit shorter than his school ones. Made from cotton and usually in beige or brown, they had elasticised waists and he seemed quite happy enough to wear them when outside at the weekends. Although to be fair he was never outside a great deal or for very long.

After tuition was finished for the day at 5 pm, Saturdays at noon, (we began at 7.30), his governess took him away. When I next saw him at supper at 6.30 Simon was already dressed in his pyjamas ready for bed. Indeed, his mother insisted on a 7.30 bedtime for Simon throughout my time with them and I cannot deny that Simon was subject to various punishments including receiving the strap or to be accurate the tawse, on his hands and on his buttocks too. He also was subjected to the childish punishments of spending time in the corner with hands on head and early bedtimes.

Undoubtedly his mother's ability to mostly isolate him from the outside world contributed to her success in delaying his, "entry to hell's inferno," as she so dramatically described the world outside. However I did learn that Simon went on to attend university but after graduating, returned to the maternal home and once more became subject to his mother's discipline.

Helen Good


  1. A boy kept in short trousers subject to early bed and pyjama time, and occasionally in receipt of a well warmed bottom …is a welcome sight for sore eyes these days…

  2. Thanks for posting some more of Helen Good's wise words, Wincy. The second paragraph in which she 'recommends' the benefits of short trousers for Simon rather sealed his fate as regards any hopes he might have had of wearing 'grown-up' clothes. Well done!

  3. Yes a boy should be kept sheltered from the outside world for as long as possible. So keeping him in school shorts and applying plenty of smack bottoms and early bedtimes is a delightful treatment.

  4. This is how it was in the 1960s. Boys wore shorts and when they were naughty when out with mother etc they got tanned and sent to bed early when they got home.