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Isabel Thurley (nee Bruce) Remembers


 Who remembers playing LEAVO at Pultneytown Academy?

This was a game we devised in the final year of primary school which was much frowned upon by staff, principally because it involved too much interaction between boys and girls.

 The rules of LEAVO were quite simple.  It usually began with the boys chasing the girls.  A large semi-circle was drawn on the tarmac in chalk against one wall of the school, which became the designated ‘holding pen’ for captives.  The boys pursued the girls around the playground, (which in Pultneytown Academy was quite extensive) with gusto, and once they were caught they were marched to the ‘holding pen’. 

 Girls were obliged to remain in the semi-circle until such time as they were ‘rescued’ and, as several boys were usually on guard duty on the perimeter, this was not easy.  Nevertheless, one of the girls usually managed to rush through the semi-circle shouting ‘LEAVO’, which was the signal for everyone in captivity to make a hasty departure.  Of course they had to evade the guards, and have the energy to avoid further capture.  Sooner or later, however, all the girls would be in captivity, after which the whole process was reversed.

 The game was pretty rough, and torn shirts, skirts, and dresses were common.  I can distinctly remember trying to sneak out of the house in an old, torn dress which was much too small, but which was eminently suitable for the rough and tumble of LEAVO.  Unfortunately I was spotted and made to go upstairs and change!   Parents were generally not sympathetic to our requests to attend school in old clothes, and even though we often returned home with a tear  in a favourite dress and suffered the inevitable consequences, we were not discouraged.

 I think LEAVO was the process by which the girls and boys at Pultneytown Academy first acknowledged each other’s existence, but without actually admitting to any similarities or common interests.  LEAVO was essentially a war which allowed the sexes to mix, but not to appear to fraternise unduly! 

 Despite the objections of staff to LEAVO, I consider it to have been a healthy and relatively innocent pastime, and one of the many games forgotten by today’s youngsters who favour TV or just ‘hanging out’.  It was certainly enjoyable.

 Of course, once we graduated to the High School, we were too aware of our dignity and our brand new uniforms to participate in anything like LEAVO