It was customary at Westcott to attend 'Assembly' first thing every morning. This was a daily ritual of prayers, hymns and a morning speech by Mrs. Whitehurst, our headmistress. Assembly was always a drag and most everyone couldn't wait to get out into the playground or to their respective painting classes. As if to add insult to injury Mrs. Whitehurst would make a boy and a girl 'take' assembly, which was a matter of standing at the front of the hall, announcing which prayers would be the order of the day, what hymns would be sung and generally keep the flow of the service moving. There was usually a standard routine of events, something like,
1) Hymn #1
It was also customary for the service taker to prepare the congregation for prayer by saying "Hands together, eyes closed", followed by the reading of the prayer, followed by "Hands down", at which point everyone knew that the prayer was over, kind of like a primary school version of 'Squad, at ease!'
This daily ritual was organized by a different boy and girl each morning. They would have to choose the prayers, recite them out loud and announce the hymn numbers. The final prayer would be 'grace' and everyone would then know that assembly had finally come to a close.
Well Crystal and I would decide once in a while to be the 'takers of assembly' since volunteers were able to choose their own partners. We would usually follow the correct routine until one day when we both had the urge to be just a little creative. I do remember that Crystal was indeed the instigator of this particular show even though I recall thinking that it was definitely a good idea at the time. We had planned on this particular occasion to spice things up a little; you know change things around a bit.
Crystal began, "Good morning, hands down!"
Very odd I thought.
Perhaps Crystal had made a mistake. I decided to take the reins for a
moment, "Hands together, eyes closed", whereupon Crystal proceeded
to say 'Grace', traditionally the final thing to be uttered before assembly
finished. The whole idea in her mind was that we would do the whole routine
backwards. We thought we would get points for creativity, not to mention
putting a smile on a few faces. Well, before we could get much further
into our show Mrs. Whitehurst spluttered,