Selected Tales from the Waste family travels for Bechtel Corporation

 Tenby, Wales, UK



Living in Tenby: Going to school

This is my older brother Steve and I preparing to leave for the public school, uniforms required. My younger brother Jamie is in the background. We lived in a flat behind us for the first few months until we found a house.

Going to school in Tenby was a pretty big culture shock at first for an 8 year old American but by then I was getting a knack for being "the new kid in class" - I had done it so many times before! Still, Tenby County Primary School was different in some unexpected ways.

Tenby County Primary School

On the first day of school during recess, the local boys surrounded me on the playground. Because I was an American they began asking me, "Do you have your own gun?" and "How many Indians have you killed?" So I had to explain the reality to them. But they liked us Yanks, as we were called. And I made many very good friends during the two years I was there.

That's me, in the center, wearing glasses with an odd expression - perhaps because my Dad was there taking pictures. I don't remember exactly who took the picture. In any case, seated next to me was my very good friend Ian Davies.


Click on this article from the Tenby newspaper dated Sept. 1963, about us Americans in Tenby.



One of the other things that made it clear we weren't in California anymore was that instead of playing "Cowboys and Indians" during the school lunch hour, my classmates were playing "Greeks and Persians". Right around that time there were a number of movies that played in Tenby like "The 300 Spartans" and "Jason and the Argonauts". That was probably the reason! It was great how they improvised chariot driving by having one kid hold onto the shirt-backs of two others as they would race into "battle".


During the 2 years we lived there, I couldn't help but absorb vast amounts of knowledge about English history, the growth of the British Empire and, most impressive of all, how Britain resisted Nazi Germany. Even little Tenby had endured at least one German air raid and in 1962 there were still large areas of war-damaged London that hadn't been rebuilt yet. I'll always have the greatest admiration for what the British did, more or less on their own, until the United States finally got involved. But even though they won the war, it seemed to have taken quite a toll economically. Or perhaps I was just a spoiled Yank from California.


Royal Air Force Spitfire: one of the victorious survivors from the ferocious Battle of Britain From left: Steve, Jamie, Shawn and me.


Click on the link above concerning our struggle learning how to add, subject, multiply and divide using the old pounds, shillings and pence!

My brother Steve and I were also introduced to the playground game called "Conkers" which involved a smashing contest between horse chestnuts on the end of a string. Never heard of it? Neither had we until living in Tenby.


Welsh schoolboys Jamie Waste and friend Mark Fawcett

On the left: my younger brother Jamie in front of his school. He and his friend Mark Fawcett are eating popsicles (or as they called them over there "ice lollies"). Jamie got the part of "Father Christmas" in his school play. He always seemed to make the best of it wherever we were living, whether it was Hawaii, Idaho or Tenby, Wales.





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