Sunday, January 7

Childhood & School, revisited

This a pic of some of my early childhood books, which I kept all these years, & some have travelled about with me, & some remained at my mother's.

I can remember sitting up on my Grandmother's bed, & she would read to me, & I couldnt wait to be able to go to school, to learn to read.
The book in the centre of the photo, is one of the earliest I remember having read to me, & particularly the story, 'Why the Sea is Salt'.
I loved the illustrations, & the mysterious looking people, & animals.It still has the price written inside, - 4/6!! Four shillings & sixpence. Money well spent!!
The Enid Blyton book at the right in the pic, is one I was given at Sunday School. It seems to be so 'class' oriented reading it now. But as I grew, I loved Enid Blyton books, & read them avidly.
The year I was to start school, there was a Polio epidemic, & most of the schools were closed, so I couldnt start until I was 6 years old. I was a year older than most of my classmates, though there were a few my age.
I used to have to catch a bus to school, & the owner of the farm we lived on, had a son who was older than I. He was a very nice boy, & he looked out for me, even though we didnt spend time together. I remember being threatened by some boys one afternoon, & he came to my rescue, & they never dared to tease me again.
Because we lived rurally, if there were any sports days, or concerts, my mother never attended, as she had no car in those early days. I was never much for sports, so that didnt bother me, but there were times as I got older when I wished she could be there for some things.
Our mother had to get a job, as our father didnt provide much money, or very regularly. She managed to buy her first little car, & I am ashamed to say, we used to cringe if she came to school to collect us, as it seemed everyone elses parents had large cars. Little snob I was!
Mum got a job working in the Telephone Exchange & so had to work shift work, & was often still unable to come to school events. I can remember she was a wonderful sewer, & she used to make some lovely clothes for me, & also always made us wonderful costumes for class events which required fancy dress. My brother was in a play?- I think it was a play, & he was the *STAR*. He was the 'Toy Man' & Mum made him the most fabulous costume in emerald green with white ribbon stripes. He had a top hat too, which I think she made. I think he still has a photo of himself, but I dont seem to have a copy.
When it came time for my children to go off to school, I always tried to attend every sports event, concert, prizegiving, & teacher interviews there were. I used to show up for all the school fetes & loved to see the kids with their school friends.
I was very lucky, in that I didnt have to work when they were younger, & I had my own car. When we moved into the city to live, I sold my car, as we no longer needed 2 cars, & one of us took the children to school in the car, & collected them each day.
I remember some of the children I started school with very clearly, & to this day, I still keep in touch with some of them.
Though I have travelled a lot, I spent all of my schooldays at the one Primary School, & then High School. I feel rather sorry for my children in that they didnt have that continuity with friends, so they havent really retained many friends from childhood.
Growing up in small towns does have disadvantages. Everyone 'knows your business', & we couldnt wait to get out of town as soon as we could, once we had grown. But there was also a comfort in knowing lots of people, & having friends who knew you well. We all scattered & went our seperate ways, & there are very few of us who stayed put. Some of the farming children did, as they carried on the farms, but a lot of them diversified into fruit orchards, as the soil was perfect for fruit growing.
We always had a wonderful vegetable garden, that our Grandfather first started & my Grandmother kept going, after he died. We had choko vines, & I vowed to never eat them again once I was an adult. Yet, surprisingly I found myself craving them when I lived in the South Island, where it was too cold to grow them! My brother still loathes them, & says they should be banished from the planet!
Now, I wonder is all this reminiscing really needed...?? or is this another way of procrastinating from getting on with sewing!


Alice said...

I'll go to your very last question - YES, all this procrastinating IS needed. You wouldn't believe how many memories have been awakened just by reading your post.

I'm sure you know how I'm always trying to encourage people to write 'life stories'. You have covered so much in just one posting, and I hope that someone else will read it, remember their own schooldays, and decide to commit those memories to paper.

Do keep remembering, writing AND procrastinating. Above all, please keep these writings for your children and grandchildren to read when want to, which may well be not for many years yet. But, it will be there for them - a vital chapter of social history.

Please, please, keep up the good work, and NEVER think of it as a waste of time.

Molly said...

I agree with Alice---your memories are well worth writing down! Don't stop. The sewing will still get done. The world has changed so much in the last fifty years, we need to document what it was like way back then so our grandchildren will know something about us, who came before them.....

meggie said...

Oh Alice & Molly, Your kind comments brought tears to my eyes.

I am hoping to be able to same these memories for my children & grandchildren.
My son B reads my blog, but not all the time. He is very busy in his job. I am proud, though, as he tells me he enjoys my style of writing.

Lee-ann said...

Meggie your procrastination as you called it is one of the most wonderful pieces of blog posts I have ever read.

I am like you filled with memories of the past like having my mum come to the school and as a little girl her giving my sister and I a hot dinner on a plate when all I wanted was a sandwich like the other kids. :o) I had not thought of that in many years and your beautiful piece triggered it back into life for me with a laugh and a smile I guess she loved us so much.

You write such wonderful pieces I am so thrilled to have found your blog page that is for sure.

best wishes Lee-ann

aunty evil said...

Hi Meggie,

If procrastinating means you keep churning out stories like this, keep procrastinating I say!

I empathise with you on your mum not being able to attend school things. I have a distinct memory of a Parent's Day when I was in second or third class, where the parents could come and sit in the classroom with their kids. My dad has always been very stingy with his money, so mum had to work to help pay for uniforms etc.

I remember my mum not being able to come, and I sat there with tears in my eyes at the feeling of alone-ness when all the other kids had their parents with them. However, now I see, without mum working, we wouldn't have had anything while we were growing up.

joyce said...

I too love your stories. Even though I went to school on a different continent much was the same. We lived three miles from school and sometimes when the roads were muddy or snowbound my Dad drove us to school with horses. THat is one of my best memories. My girls loved Enid Blyton and I read them aloud when Iwas teaching. THey are classist and sexist by today's standards but still a good read. I used to make comments on the sexism and hopefully used them as a bit of a lesson that way. THe kids loved Kiki most of all.

verniciousknids said...

I love chokos and I was a huge Enid Blyton fan...still am, actually ;)

My float said...

All the reminiscing is essential - how else can we plot our lives? And those stories of your parents are wonderful. How different times were then.

I love those books. I have been searching for a book my mother had when she was a little girl, and I just can't find it anywhere. It's called The Little Round Staircase and was my favourite book. Alas, I ruined it. Textas, you see. (Shame on me.)