Robert Funkie Thomson Sharp stood in the back row, center, for the annual class picture one last time. The tallest in his class, he was always positioned there.
The schoolmaster called up the students one by one.
Frank walked up to the schoolmaster.
“Frank Sharp, you have completed primary, with distinction, as of the twelfth of June, nineteen twelve.” He handed Frank his certificate. “I recommend you continue your studies, young man. You are clever in mathematics and the sciences.”
Frank took his certificate, shook the schoolmaster’s hand, and searched for Jamie Campbell, his best friend. The two didn’t wait for the end of the ceremony; they started walking down High Street towards Wellsgreen, where they both lived.
“So, Jamie, whit wull ye dae noo?”
“Mah da says ah wull join him carting. An’ ye?”
Frank hung his head. “Mah da has me aff tae th’ Rosie colliery tae join mah brothers, Jock and Jimmy.”
“’N' whit wull ye dae thare?”
“Da says ah wull likely be a drawer.”
Jamie stayed silent for several seconds. “I’m sorry fer ye,
Frank. That’s sair wark.” He suddenly stopped and faced his friend.
“But yer sae braw – mibbie they wull put ye elsewhere! Drawers needs be wee, an’ yuir nae wee!”
Frank stayed silent as they walked. The lads usually ran home, but today they were in no rush – in no rush to leave their youth behind.
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