Bambaragoda, Edward Goonewardene, Federated Malay States, General English Language Training Programme, George Eliot, John & Co. Ceylon, Kurunagala, Leo Moonemalle Goonewardene, Lucille Aluwihare, Marguerita Batuwantudawe, Old Place, R J Hallyell, Royal Thomian, Ryde Gold Medal, S. Kurita, S. Thomas’, Seremban, Thorayaya, Trinity College
My favourite in my childhood of my grandmother’s family was Leo, the closest to her in age and the only other of her brothers and sisters to marry. He was two years older than her, and had been at S. Thomas at first, and was then sent to Trinity since it was thought he was not studying. He thus lost his chance to play in the Royal Thomian match, but succeeded in winning the Ryde Gold Medal for Latin at his new school. This astonished me, since I had never thought of him as in any sense interested in intellectual pursuits. On the other hand perhaps it was not difficult for him to shine, since Trinity too had not seemed to lay much stress on the life of the mind.
In all fairness I should note that that has changed, and I do not say this just because I now serve on the Trinity Board of Governors. I still recall my dismay when I found S. Thomas’ totally outclassed in a debate, way back in 1982, when I was engaged in my quixotic effort to clean up the College. I was scathing about the lackadaisical performance of boys who should have done much better, but I suppose I should not have blamed them. Those were the days when our examination results were appalling but the Board accepted the view that the boys came from a class that did not need to go to University.
Preserved from Leo’s schooldays are five postcards, with pictures of his schoolfriends in a custom that seems to have been common in those days, for the cards are of different sorts. Two are sent by the same person, an R J Hallyell, if I have read the signature correctly. The card is of the same design on the side for communication, but with two different pictures of Halyell on the other. He stands stiffly in one, in an oval frame, against an outdoor background that seems to have a spire as well an ornamental vase on a balustrade. He sits on a table in a rectangular frame in the other, more relaxed, but only slightly.