Left feeling ashamed

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Seeing the pictures of students getting their A-level results reminded me that it’s exactly 50 years since I passed my A-levels.

It was the golden summer of 1966, the year we beat the Germans and won the World Cup.

Strangely enough one of the subjects I passed at A-level was German. Sadly, I never got much chance in later life to use my knowledge of German –except on holidays, of course. But I could do a wicked impersonation of Adolf Hitler. I often entertained family and friends at parties.

First, I would comb my hair down over my forehead, then I’d shove the comb under my nose and shout in angry voice: “Heut gehort uns Deutschland, morgen die ganze welt.” – My how they laughed.

A few years ago I was looking at the Echo Business pages when I saw a picture of an old school friend. I was stunned when I read his firm had put him in charge of their exports to Germany. He didn’t even stay on at school to do his A-levels, now he was on the phone to German businesses or flying over there.

A feeling of shame, if not guilt, came over me. He was doing something useful with his German and made a successful career out of it. All I ever did was impersonate Hitler.

Charles Napier