A response to The Weekly Writing Challenge This looked as though it might be fun to try. It was interesting what was thrown up by just ten minutes of writing – my pedantry goes back a long way – I was a bit of a brat. 🙂
My earliest memories
My earliest memories are pretty hazy. I’m not so sure whether I really remember them, or whether they are memories of memories – redredged up from having to write ‘my earliest memories’ when I was at school, mixed with tales told by my mum.
Nevertheless. I don’t remember anything before primary school, but I do have a few memories that go back to my first classroom. My first teacher was Miss Bates (though I also remember Miss Bearpark – was that really her name?) in the same high-windowed Victorian school-room. Not that I was a Victorian, you understand. But the room was the original school. The assembly hall for my daughters’ primary school was a room almost identical, probably built from the same plans – and still in use about a hundred years after it was built. But I digress.
The windows were above eye-level for small children, probably to avoid the Victorian children getting distracted by the excitements of the big outdoors. I seem to remember them being pointed at the top, like church windows, but that may be invention. The room was heated by a big boiler, with a wire fireguard round it, that we used to poke our gloves into, when they got wet on snowy days.
I remember the smell of poster paints – though I don’t actually remember doing any painting, but I’m sure we did. I can’t recall any actual work – or play for that matter – that we did in that reception class. The only clear memory I have of that room is with Miss Bearpark, who I think was the next teacher – that would be class 5A, I think. Reception was Class 6. I seem to remember her teaching us ‘Home, home on the range, where the deer and the antelope roam…’ – but maybe that wasn’t her, and I’ve just conflated deer and bears (in her name)…
She was writing a poem on the board – perhaps it was the lyrics of Home on the Range. And I have a clear memory of putting my hand up to tell her that she’d forgotten to put a comma at the end of one of the lines. A little pedant already, at age 5 or 6. And I was probably wrong, too, as poetry and songs don’t always have commas at the end of each line.
Another similar memory was a bit later on, when I was a Brownie. We were going for a nature walk – a nice convenient way of using up meeting time I imagine now, having seen things from the adult perspective more recently. One of the adults told us that a plant was Red Dead-nettle, and I corrected them and said it was Ground-Ivy.
That time I was right though – and I did end up going on to study Botany at university, so maybe I can be excused that one. I did know that maybe I should have kept quiet though, as it is one of my sharpest childhood memories, and it still makes me feel a bit uneasy.