A PTA did emerge from round about 1954 but I was never too sure what influence it had on the school as a whole; it probably had some influence on the sons of the PTA members! And you must remember that the parents of the boarders (country boys almost exclusively) would not easily come to PTA meetings. The Board of Governors seemed to carry the swing.
Caning was a barbarous relic of the past when I went to Calabar in 1952. And it did not return so long as I was there. (Hmmm.... something in that I am sure.) I suspect it returned when a certain military-minded Englishman by the name of Thompson took over as headmaster. He became something of a tyrant, walking around with a whistle and when he blew it everyone had to stop moving and come to attention. I rather suspect that if that had happened when we were in Fifth Form we would have become quite radical.
Parties? Yuh mad? Remember Calabar was a Baptist school and Baptists don't dance, at least not in those days! So, we never had parties at Calabar itself. Instead, through something called the Gordon-Somers Society, named after one Rev. Gordon-Somers, the bigger boys and the theological students had sedate Sunday evenings sitting and talking over lemonade with the Shortwood Teachers' College girls. Clearly the idea was to identify a source of future wives for the parsons-to-be.
For me, parties blossomed when I was in Sixth Form and a member, a very active member, of the Sixth Form Association. We had socials at places like Copacabana Club at Seven Miles (on the St. Thomas Road), and in those days it was US Rhythm & Blues and Latin-American cha-cha-cha, mambo and merengue, that ruled, with people like Smiley Lewis, the great Fats Domino, Perez Prado, Tommy Edwards, The Platters, Paul Anka, Pat Boone, Bobbettes, Micky and Sylvia, Wilbert Harrison, Chuck Berry, Ray Charles, Everley Brothers, Harry Belafonte, The Mighty Sparrow, Bobby Day, Little Richard, The Coasters, Jackie Wilson, Otis Redding, Shirley and Lee, Gene and Eunice, Chuck Jackson, etc taking the top spots. In fact, it was the cha-cha that first brought me out of my shyness on to the dance floor.
The tunes? Blueberry Hill, So Long, Blue Monday, Patricia, My Roberta, Guaglione, Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White, Blue Moon, High School Dance, Boney Maroney, Long Tall Sally, Hound Dog, All Shook Up, Bird Dog, Perfidia, Singing the Blues, Tequila, Yakkity-Yak, Dream Dream Dream, My Prayer, My Dream, Love Letters In The Sand, Great Balls of Fire, Whole Lotta Shakin Goin On, Rocking Pneumponia, I'm Walking, What'd I Say, Love is Strange, The Vow, I'll Never Be Leaving You, Little Darlin', Kansas City, April Love, Come Softly to Me, Diana, It's All In The Game, Sleepwalk, Sea of Love, Mr. Lee, My Three O'Clock Thrill, When You Dance, Get A Job, Let The Good Times Roll, Lonely Teardrops, My Little Coquette, My Blue Heaven, Valley Of Tears, Maria (Sparrow), PAYE, Ten To One Is Murder, May May, Water The Garden.