Friday, 29 October 2010

How an old photo sparked teacher and pupil reunion after 50 years

A PHOTO that appeared on a Portadown website has reunited a teacher and her former pupil after more than 50 years.
Mrs Mona Martin, who lives in Margretta Park, had found some old photos, including one of herself as a young teacher (then Miss Kennedy) with her class at Hart Memorial PS, taken in the early 1950s.

Her husband Bertie duly sent the photos to local photographer Jim Lyttle to include of his website of images of Portadown past and present.

Little did Mrs Martin know that one of the pupils pictured, Gordon Mullen, now living in Australia, would recognise himself and begin a chain of correspondence that culminated in a recent reunion in Portadown.

Said Mrs Martin, “We had a message from Gordon to say how thrilled he was to see the photo of his old school ‘especially Miss Kennedy who I was seriously in love with’!”

Gordon, married with a grown-up family, recalled that his teacher, on whom he had such a big crush as an eight-year-old, had red hair.

The pair, with their respective spouses, met up at a recent reunion at the Seagoe Hotel, before the Mullens went on to visit an uncle in Armagh, and then on to Scotland and London, where they have a son.

Said Mrs Martin, “We had a lovely dinner together and it wasn’t one bit awkward. We just seemed to click.

“What I remember about Gordon as a child is that he was always so well-dressed and clean and tidy. He used to wear a little, V-neck pullover.

“We had some good laughs in the classroom. I was just out of Stranmillis teacher training college and I was young looking so maybe I didn’t seem as old or strict to the children as some of the other teachers did.

“If one of the children said or did something funny, I would have laughed with them.”

The then Miss Kennedy taught at Hart Memorial PS for around 10 years before getting married and giving up teaching to devote herself to married and family life.


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