It seems weird but this group of friends never walked on the pavement nearest to the The Borstal. There was a foreboding air about the building, everyone in the neighbourhood knew something about it or had a story to tell of they saw or heard. Whether it was true or not, no one knew.
The gossip was, it a school for stubborn boys and girls whose parents had sent them there because the family couldn’t cope with them. It was common knowledge that parents like saying to their children, “Behave yourself or else you’ll end up in the Borstal. Sometimes the child replies “Yeah you can’t do anything to me.” Sure enough that’s a standoff if there ever was one. It didn’t last for long because sounds of running feet took the child to the neighbours house for refuge. Apologies and pleadings later the child was admitted to the parents house. No Borstal for him or her. Years ago corporal punishment was the thing and not many escaped it but I still wondered where the love was in their families.
I so hated the existence of that building; the threats, the crying, the screams being the process of bringing up a child. Children need to be brought up to be respectful, know the difference between right and wrong but not this way. Though I am paraphrasing ‘Spare the rod and spoil the child’ is in the Bible, Proverbs 13:25 but I am sure God didn’t mean cruelty to children.