personal correspondent remembered his experience. He wrote:
In the first two years,
a big churn of milk was left at the gate of the school. Four boys from sixth
class were sent to get it for play-time, and they left it outside in the sun. In the first term, it was a heavy churn, so
they spilled most of it half the time. At play time, one of the nuns ladled it out into china cups that every child might
or might not have, and anyone who wanted it could have a drink.
Quickly, the novelty
wore off, and no one turned up to get their quota. So it was made mandatory for all to partake. This was unpopular, since
the milk was always heavy with cream, it was often on the turn, and queueing up to get it took up all play-time. This latter objection resulted in the distribution time being moved to lunch-time, and by then it was
definitely curdled, and full of lumps. It became more unpopular.
Over the next year,
buyer resistance grew to one hundred percent. Then, technology changed everyone’s
attitude. Milk was delivered in small bottles, with round cardboard lids. This
was extremely popular with the boys because they developed various gambling games, and the winners were paid in lids. In a
school where there was no hint of money, the boy with the biggest pile of lids was king of the castle.
The milk, when it was
delivered to the school, came with a quarter of a block of ice. This was good for crushing and putting down the back of shirts. That was generally a good use for it, but in Summer it had all melted by the time
we got to school, so for those months, it was not much use to anyone.
As for the milk, it
never came back into favour. A few times we were forced by the good nuns to
drink it “because if we do not drink it, we will lose it.” But after a few sessions of mass vomiting, it was decided
that compulsion was not a solution.
I have found over the
years that this Letter is fairly typical. Its effects were not just felt in
the schools. For example, a few milk-bar owners were fined for purloining crates of full bottles from outside schools before
the students got there. Then there was the question of what happened in school holidays.
There was no milk delivered. Did that mean children no longer needed
The people delivering the milk always wanted more pay. So
milk deliveries were often cancelled because of strikes. When there was drought in an area, deliveries dried up. There were
a few Letters demanding that at city schools where the milk was actually drunk, the girls got the milk first so that they
could later be sturdy enough to bear children. At the same time, the dairy industry, and the bureaucracy behind the scheme,
were all staunch supporters so that politics was always loitering.
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