The year 1977. For me, that was the Queen’s Silver Jubilee year. Street parties, Union Flag bowler hats, bunting across the streets, a massive military parade staged by the BAOR (British Army of the Rhine) at Sennelager. Things were different then. The price of a 1st class stamp was 9p.
(Above is a first day cover to mark that jubilee.)
How much does a first class stamp cost nowadays? Having lived aboard for several years now, I had to google it. Ulp! Drum roll…
But what else has changed since then? Let’s take this case study.
1977: the school secretary at Wolfenbüttel Primary School phones the Guardroom at the barracks, 5 minutes walk away.
Hello, Cpl Sunray. School secretary here. Can one of the Regimental Police pop over to the school? One of the youngsters has got his head stuck in the back of a chair while messing about with his mates.
Cpl Sunray arrives in the classroom. Little Charlie, aged 5, is standing near teacher’s desk, looking all sheepish. His classmates are watching him.
Gentle tugging and twisting does not help. Cpl Sunray decides the only way is to saw the plastic back off the chair. But he has to have a bit of fun. At Charlie’s expense.
Cpl Sunray takes his hacksaw. He holds it in front of Charlie’s eyes. He winks to teacher. Very deadpan he sighs:
It’s no good, Charlie. We’ll just have to cut your head off.
Charlie screams. Loudly.
No, no, no, please, no!
His classmates, teacher, and Cpl Sunray laugh. Also loudly. And for a good minute.
Cpl Sunray then manages to saw the back of the chair off. Much to Charlie’s relief.
Now, fast forward 40+ years. What would happen?
- Cpl Sunray would be severely reprimanded, perhaps dismissed.
- Charlie would be diagnosed with PTSD and offered counselling.
- Maybe his classmates, too.
- And teacher…
Have a sawn-off day, won’t you!