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Reminiscences of Peterhouse 1957-1962

When I first arrived at Peterhouse it was from a Government School in Salisbury, and I had not spent much time away from home. The whole arrangement was somewhat alien, and there were several practices that seemed to be totally unnecessary, like wearing special clothes for the evening meal. My mother was from New Zealand where English traditions were probably more common than in England, but which was in something of a time warp as I found later, but that did not prepare me for what I thought was a strange custom, in summer anyway.

However, I was there to stay, so there was nothing for it but to knuckle down and come to grips with the procedures however odd I thought that they were.

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Johnstone McEwen (Mac) Mason

1918-1996 (STAFF 1958-61)

Andrew McEwen Mason writes:
My father Mac Mason's life was shaped by two profound experiences, one as a very young man and the other in middle age. As it happens, one led indirectly to the other.

Second World War
The first was his service as an RAF pilot during the Second World War. This gave him a life-long love of flying and a feast of memories and amusing anecdotes. It also almost killed him. As a result of a bad landing in 1941, he contracted ankylosing spondylitis, which at that time was almost unknown. He was in fact lucky to survive, but it left him with permanent crippling pain in his back (caused by the fusing of cartilage in the vertebrae), a particular blow to someone who had been a first-class sportsman. When he was finally invalided out of the RAF, the doctors recommended he take up a light, stress-free occupation. They suggested that teaching would fit the bill nicely (!), and he took to this occupation like a duck to water. He loved his work, despite all its stresses and strains, and I believe he was very good at it (that's what my Peterhouse contemporaries told me, anyway).

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