"Mrs Ferrie," he said, his tone portentous as he delivered a message that would resonate down the ages, "we need to talk about Kevin."
My mother, one of the teachers on his staff, briefly showed a flicker of unease as she asked what I had been up to this time. "It's not that he's done anything wrong," came the reply. "It's his swimming; I'm very worried about it. He simply doesn't have any style."
"Can he stay afloat?" she responded and, when he confirmed that I could just about get from one side of the pool to another, her attention duly returned fully to her tea and biscuit.
Fast forward 41 years to poolside at Scotstoun Leisure Centre some 12 months ago where I had been sent to interview a rather more efficient displacer of water who had provided a silver lining to the cloud of gloom that hung over British swimming following London 2012.
Michael Jamieson's first personal appearance at a pool in his home city had drawn a rather larger crowd than anticipated when he had been booked to appear ahead of winning that Olympic silver medal, so there was time to kill for all concerned and I fell into conversation with Sharon Macdonald, Scottish Swimming's director of development.
As she spoke of the need to devote attention to getting more adult swimmers into the water through their government supported "You Can Swim" and "Just Add Water" campaigns, I casually mentioned my own lack of competency by way of politely supporting her argument.
A couple of minutes later I had been persuaded that it would be a good idea for me to get some lessons and to write about it pour encourager les autres, so to speak.
Sharon waited for her moment and timed the reminder perfectly, just after it had been confirmed that I had fewer working commitments than usual this summer and that first dunk in the Stirling University pool, back in early June, was horribly embarrassing. Jenni McCabe, Scottish Swimming's participation development officer took personal responsibility for the reintroduction and invited me to demonstrate what I could do.
A deep breath, a frantic flounder and two thirds of the way down the 25-metre pool, I was clinging to the side, gasping like the victim of a Tongan tackle. My effort was even worse than I had imagined.
A few half-hour lessons later, having covered the basics, she then, with holidays looming, passed me on to Brad Hay, a swimming development officer with Active Stirling whose combination of technical tips, distraction tactics and patient encouragement proved nigh on perfect.
Still struggling with the breathing, which for me was to prove key, the first lesson with him proved another struggle but, just a few weeks and a dozen or so lessons later, I was managing 16 or 17 full freestyle lengths - admittedly with breaks in between - during a 40-minute session.
That felt like a huge breakthrough in a very short time and it was time to write up the experience which, ahead of taking it on, I had anticipated involving much pontification about the need for every adult to treat this as an essential component of physical literacy.
On that note, it is certainly the case that many of us believe we will never need to know how to swim if we simply avoid the water.
We do so without fully considering situations like my own four-year-old walking straight into the deep end of the pool at our holiday complex while I was still carrying in the luggage, or a relative's son who had previously looked utterly secure on a bike, cycling into a canal from the tow-path.
What I had not expected to be explaining was that, once the initial embarrassment was over and it all began to fall into place, the most attractive aspect of learning to swim is how good it makes you feel, while a surprising bonus was that it helped my cricket too, in terms of loosening the shoulders while improving all-round fitness.
Brad's four main pointers had been:
You're never too old to learn to swim. Most local pools will have some adult lessons available, so give it a try.
Stick with it and stay positive! Learning to swim requires a lot of hard work and it won't come overnight.
Find out what works for you. Not everyone will be able to have strokes like Michael Phelps in the pool, so find a stroke/technique that works for you and go from there.
Enjoy it! The pool is a great place to exercise. Whether you want to challenge yourself or you just want to stay active, everyone can enjoy the water.
As to whether, if still around, Brother Kentigern would have offered any more in the way of style marks by the time those messages had been absorbed I very much doubt it but, unlike those in the seventies, these swimming lessons have introduced me to something I want to keep doing for the rest of my life.
To my astonishment, then, this recommendation that "You Can Swim" - comes not because everyone should do it, but because, in the end, it became incredibly good fun.