Claremont School

Astor, Class of 1969

Venetia Cowling (Chase)

Venetia remembers first arriving at the Coach House, now the Prep School, as a boarder. Her memories include her matron Mrs Pekelharing bidding the girls goodnight in Spanish and her life long friendships made at Claremont:

“I have been thinking of my early times at Claremont.

I was there for eight years (quite a long time!) from 1961 – 1969. I can remember vividly my arrival at the Coach House as a very young ten year old. The first girl I met was Jill S.

Somehow I wasn’t homesick during that first year.  This may be in part due to the  kindness of Mrs Pekelharing who was our matron. She always had a twinkle in her eye and a ready sense of fun. We once made her an apple pie bed and she was very good about it.  She was a very warm person and used to read bedtime stories to us.  At the end of these stories as she turned the lights off she always bid us goodnight in Spanish, having lived for a long time in Argentina.  I thought she was very exotic.  “Buenos noches”  was the first Spanish I had ever heard.

The friends I made at Claremont have been lifelong and although I was not an attentive or dutiful student I enjoyed my time there.  When we have our reunions it is always so lovely to pick up exactly where we left off and it is good to have so many memories to share.”