A stitch in time would have confused Einstein.

~ Author Unknown ~

Good Old Happy Whells

March 20th, 2012 ~ Est. reading time: 1 min, 25 secs

Good Old Happy Whells wishing the kids well.

“Don’t touch that you fool! You’re gonna break yourself as well as my gear.” Ah those good old days with Mr Whells (Old Happy Whells we called him). He was our manic metalwork teacher and, for some reason, he never saw the sense in retiring.

“Now look: you put the solderin’ iron in yer hand. Not in yer eye. Got it? And when… Look at me when I’m talkin’ to yer, you stupid lad! [Turning to the class: Mr Whells will do the yelling, thank you!] Now, when you hold your solderin’ iron, pick it up by the handle! Yes. H-a-n-d-l-e. Got it?”

I liked Old Happy Whells. We all did. He was mad, and when you’re a teen, you like mad.  But he kind of scared me too. I mean, anyone with a bushy black beard, wild eyebrows, a strong Scottish accent, brandishing an angry hand with two fingers missing is intimidating. So when Old Happy Whells threatened to thump you for not listening, you got the point.

“I’d like to bang your heads together, the lot of you! Yer wasting my time coming in here expecting to build cars when yer don’t even know how to drill a hole. I’d throw you all in the river if I could. But then I’d miss out on me pension.”  That was the thing about Old Happy Whells. He was practical.

Years have passed and now I think I understand Old Happy Whells better than ever. He was gruff, rough, and all bark without bite. He liked kids and “got” the way they thought. So he managed to keep them safe, get them on side, and even teach them a thing or two.

If you happen to have an “Old Happy Whells” person in your life, count yourself blessed. Politically incorrect, grouchy, and quirky, these wonderfully colorful characters can teach us a lot. Just be sure not to take their grumbling too seriously and, above all, be glad they’re a little bit mad.


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