Carl Blodau 1970’s
We originally came to Ireland as a small family, my husband Dietrich and our son Peter, then just 2 ½ years old.
Dietrich had taken up an offer of a post in the Limerick School of Art as a print maker. He had the task of setting up a new course in the college, as print making was anew discipline in the college.
In Berlin I had studied for 4 years in Fine Arts (painting and sculpture). This however did not give me a teaching diploma, so over the next 2 years I set about qualifying as an art teacher.
After one year teaching at Limerick Technical School on Upper O’ Connell Street, I heard of a teaching post advertised in St Mary’s Secondary School, Askeaton.
It was 1972 when I first met the headmistress Mrs Hawkes. She asked would I teach on Saturday mornings to slowly start a secondary school art course for leaving and inter cert.
This Saturday class gradually evolved and was included in the main school curriculum.
As for art facilities? well we had none!. We had no art room, no running water, a small room and not much money from the Dept. of Education! But we managed and classes were developed and students took art for inter and leaving cert. Mrs Hawkes helped me in every way she could, ordering what I needed and enthusiastically showing an interest in the subject. Eventually, most students were able to take art as one of their core subjects.
At this time my only means of transport was a bicycle to get me from Curragh chase where we were living. It was quite pleasant in those days as there was very little traffic on the roads. However, very often Mrs Hawkes would toss my bike into her car boot and drive me back home. Sometimes she would swing by her own house and throw in a bag of potatoes from the farm for me as well.
This was the start of a wonderful relationship with her. On occasion she would invite me to go to the theatre in Limerick, again collecting and dropping me home. Lovely memories that I shall never forget. I have very fond memories too of the many teachers that I met during my years teaching there-Peggy Dooley, Ita Mc Donnell, Sean Curran and Jo Scanlon. Not to forget the many students that I taught and still meet from time to time now-Paula Dundon, James and Antoinette Fitzgerald, Fintan Ryan, Mary Hawkes, Tim Kelly and many many more whose name I have forgotten.
Finally I want to say ‘Míle buiochas’ to Mrs Hawkes for those early years of my teaching career and for those years of happy memories.