Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Reminiscing on Tuesday

This morning, before I left for work, I took a few minutes to water the newly emerging bean seedlings.  I was reminded of a line or two of a poem I learned when I was in school, when I was in the 8th grade, I believe.  “Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee” (W.B. Yeats, “Lake Isle of Innisfree”).  I have often wondered why he was going to plant nine rows of beans.  Why not ten?  Or eight?  I only have two rows of beans and no hive at all, although I’ve plenty of bees humming around the lemon flowers and the bottle brush flowers.  Oh, and wasps making another nest under the eaves; this time, just above my bedroom window!  I noticed that, too, this morning, as I was bringing in the trash cans from the curb, after they had been emptied. 
 
The snippet of poem led me to reminiscing, first about the various poems we were taught at school and then, the schools I attended. 
 
My first experience of a school was when I went to pre-kindergarten, when I was four years old.  It was a private school, originally founded as a Christian (Anglican) school, but which later admitted students of other faiths, as well.  I don’t remember a lot about it – it was in a big house like building with the lawn adjoining a man-made lake.  My teacher, Miss Monica, whom I adored, was English; there is a photograph of me standing next to her, in my childhood album.  I was joined there by my cousin who is 4 months younger to me; I think I must have started attending the pre-school first, because I remember bossing my cousin around and telling her what to do and how things were to be done at school!  I remember us sitting together and coloring at a table.  I also remember there were two other girls who might have been a bit older and who might have been trying to make friends with me – they were always asking me which one I liked better and I found that to be most annoying!  And then, one day, Miss Monica got married (and apparently I was invited to the wedding, along with my mother), but somehow, her getting married made me not want to go to that school anymore!  I remember crying and refusing to go back!  I don’t know if Miss Monica left the school after she got married or if she continued to teach there.  But somehow, her getting married changed her forever in my 4-year-old mind.  My mother withdrew me from the school and entered me into a different pre-school – this time, it was a public school and the one associated with the public Buddhist school I would attend from kindergarten until I graduated.  Eventually, my cousin must have joined me, because I remember we were both in the same kindergarten class at the main school, afterwards.
 
I don’t remember much about the pre-kindergarten (known as nursery school at the time) at the second school.  But I remember the kindergarten class and my teacher, Miss F (who also got married, and again, I was invited; it might have been after I had already promoted from her class, though, because I remember attending her wedding.)  We recited nursery rhymes in kindergarten, and learned the Sinhala alphabet (54 letters + diacritics).
 
I don’t remember learning any English poems in 1st and 2nd grades.  But, in 3rd or 4th grade, I learned “Mr. Tom Narrow” by James Reeves.  “A scandalous man was Mr. Tom Narrow", for he pushed his grandmother around the town in a wheelbarrow, and tried to sell her!  “Grannies to sell!  Old Grannies to sell!”  But no one would buy his Granny as the neighbors thought she'd be of little use and a poor bargain as well;  so he sent her back to bed and sold his wheelbarrow, instead, for half a crown!  LOL.  I loved this poem.  Later, I forgot some of the words and one of my cousins, who teaches elocution and uses this poem among others, wrote it out for me.
 
In every grade, we had to memorize our poems and recite them.  One year, it was “Lochinvar” by Sir Walter Scot.  And “The Highwayman” by Alfred Noyes.  I loved learning and reciting poems and I read many more at home, too, other than what was taught in school.  Eventually, I would try my hand at writing poetry!  I still have two books of poems I wrote as a teenager, in a box in the garage! 
 
Today, I woke up feeling more energetic than yesterday.  As a result, I went to the office and had a rather productive day.  On the way home, I stopped to put gas to the car (and this time, I did not go to get a hamburger!).  By the time I came home, however, I was starting to feel tired.  So, I spent a relaxed evening.  I called my neighbor T who had called and left a message.  Then, I called my neighbor S to tell her that the fish she brought over on Sunday, which her mother had made, was delicious.  I also received a phone call from one of my cousins in Sri Lanka, the one who wrote out the Mr. Tom Narrow poem for me; I reminded her of it and she laughed.  She is now teaching adults and uses different poems. 

Today, for breakfast, I ate the last piece of the beef steak, shredded and made into a wrap with a piece of the lavash flat bread, along with a banana.  Lunch was macaroni and cheese, with the half a pear leftover from yesterday.  Dinner was the second piece of fish my neighbor S had brought for me, with the leftover half of the baked potato and some broccoli:

Tuesday Dinner
Followed by an orange for dessert.  I eat plenty of fruit, but struggle to eat enough vegetables!

Today, I am grateful for:
- Feeling better 
- My veggie seeds are sprouting!
- Memories of poems and school days
- Safe commutes to the office and back
- No ill effects from the medications
 
Tuesday (and Beyond) To Do List:
- Go to the office - DONE
- Call the oncologist's office - DONE
- Put gas to the car - DONE
- Bring the trash cans in - DONE
- Water the seedlings - DONE
- Put away laundry
- Continue to tidy
- Dust
- Vacuum
- Paperwork/filing
- Plant the new succulents

Wednesday's To Do List:

- Go to the office
- Call for a car service appointment
- Go to the bank
- Water the seedlings
- Plus the remaining items from Tuesday's list!

How was your Tuesday?  Did you have to learn poems when you went to school?  Do you still remember some of them?  What do you remember about your early school days?

21 comments:

  1. It is the same with me...I eat more fruit than vegetables. But your food looks good with all that broccoli. Those are nice poems...you have had a good education so early on! Andrea

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    1. Thanks, Andrea. My fridge drawer is full of the vegetables I've bought and haven't eaten! But, keeping a food diary of sorts is helping. I hated going to school, but I think they did manage to cram a lot of knowledge into me!

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  2. I have never heard the Grannies in wheelbarrow poem. That one is a lot of fun. It's always interesting to take a trip down memory lane. Thanks for sharing with us.

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    1. It's a funny poem, isn't it? It's up there with the Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear, for me. You are welcome! Thanks for going along with me!

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  3. I have enjoyed reading your memories of preschool and I'm also glad you felt better today. Unlike you I seem to eat plenty of vegetables but not enough fruit. I prefer eating fruit when the weather is hot, and as we don't get a lot of hot weather here that isn't very often. Maybe if I had an orange tree in my garden..... X

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    1. Thanks,Jules. Please share your secret of eating more vegetables! From childhood on, I've preferred fruit to vegetables! Calorie- and sugar-wise, vegetables are better than fruit, but I guess some fresh produce is better than none. Hm, if you don't have an orange tree in your garden, maybe you can have an apple tree?

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  4. You had an interesting and it seems very nice education, Bless. I remember having to memorize poetry in grade school, but do not remember any of them. Memorization is not one of my strong points. I love veggies, especially ones from the garden. Maybe once your garden starts producing, you'll like them better.

    Hugs
    Jane

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    1. Thanks, Jane. I had to take a college placement test when I first came here and I had no idea that I'd have to take one, as it was sort of sprung on me. "Tomorrow, you will sit for this exam" - English, Science, Math, and Social Studies. I scored well enough to earn quite a few college credits!

      I've always loved fruit but never cared much for vegetables. I have to make a conscious effort to include them in my diet. But I shall enjoy eating the ones from my garden, assuming the plants grow and produce!

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  5. Marvelous to hear that you were full of energy and had a good day. I think you are a bit hard on yourself as to how you eat. Rather than focus on how many fruits or vegetables you eat think of a serving and your caloric intake. A guideline could be 2 cups of fruit and 2-1/2 cups vegetable. Your broccoli serving looks quite large. I often eat a green lettuce salad for lunch, with celery, tomatoes, carrots, beets, etc. and 1/2 can tuna in water. All in all I think you are eating well.

    I liked school. When we spoke to a lady teacher we had to say "Miss" and a man "Sir". Each morning started with an assembly led by the Headmaster. The only poem I remember is "I wandered lonely as a Cloud" by William Wordsworth. The girls wore white blouses with a tie, navy skirt and either a cardigan or blazer. We had a gingham dress we were allowed to wear in the summer. Boys similar but with grey trousers. It had to be purchased from a certain shop and was very expensive. We always had to take it off as soon as we got home and change into play clothes. The one thing I didn't like was the noon time school dinner. Following the war the dinner time ladies were insistent that you clean your plate. Not a good memory. I hate mashed potatoes to this day as a result. When I turned age 11 my mum allowed me to come home for dinner. End of the drama with the lunch time ladies who often made pupils sit at the table with the cold food in front of them for a very long time until they ate it!

    Hope you were able to get some of those reduced jelly beans!

    Sandy

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    1. Thanks, Sandy. I've had a couple of comments on the groceries posts, about a lack of nutrition, vegetables and fruit. I think I eat sufficient fruit, but I am aware of the vegetable short comings! Not only the amounts, but also the types and variety. I am being told it is important for fighting cancer. I think awareness is the first step, isn't it?

      Thank you for sharing memories of your school days. We had to address our teachers as Miss, too (had only female teachers as it was an all-girls school; I think the only man on the premises was the peon), and stand up and greet whenever any teacher entered or left the class. We had uniforms too! White dresses, with a collar, short sleeves, box pleats, and a belt, worn with a navy blue tie, a brass badge in the shape of an oil lamp (the school emblem) on the tie and a plastic shield with the house colors which we could wear on the bodice of the dress. I still have my school badges! We had to wear white socks; white, black, or brown shoes, white or black hair ribbons (if you had long hair, it had to be plaited), and while necklaces, earrings and bangles could be worn as they are such a part of our culture, they couldn't be costume jewelry and the earrings couldn't dangle. We couldn't wear any make up or nail polish, etc. I once grew my nails, just a little, during a school holiday and didn't cut them before returning to school, and my teacher pulled me up for it!

      We had weekly assemblies (and we had to hold out our hands for our nails to be inspected by a teacher before we were allowed to file in to the hall!); mornings began with reciting prayers. The few non-Buddhists would stand up when we stood up to recite our prayers, but they were allowed to stand silently.

      For lunch, we could either go home if we lived close enough to do so, or we would bring from home; there was a boarding attached to the school, so the pupils who boarded would go there for their lunch. I didn't go home for lunch, so brought my lunch to school with me. There was a shop run by the school (we called it a tuck shop) where one could buy snacks during recess and lunch. School used to start at 8:00 a.m. and end at 3:00 p.m. with a morning recess and a lunch break. Later, they changed the hours to start at 7:00 a.m. and end at 1:30 p.m. with a morning recess and no lunch break. Very often, we would stop for a snack on the way home, after school, as we were starving by then!

      I didn't appreciate it much, at the time, but we were given a good education.

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  6. It is fun to remember things from childhood. I don't go all the way back to elementary school but at the beginning of every April I recite the prologue to The Canterbury Tales, just for myself and at some point I recite Thanatopsis and Hamlet's soliloquy. I have no idea why it's just something I do.

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    1. Sounds like you have a nice little tradition going there! I had to look up Thanatopsis, I had never read it before! I think we focused more on the British poets, when I was at school.

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    2. Wow, Anne! As a high school teacher, the prologue is LONG!

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  7. I love the sound of that Grannies in the wheelbarrow song! We had to learn poetry but I was rubbish at memory exercises, I loved reading prose though, I remember when I was in Form 1 (11 yrs old) we had an exam where we had to read a story and then recite a poem, I sat near the teachers test and I saw that he had given me top marks for reading and then when I started on the poem he crossed it out and put a lower mark!!! LOL. Our school sound like yours in your answer to SandyExpat. I remember in High School having our skirts measured by the prefects before Assembly which was every day, They had to be no more than one inches above our knees! It was the mini skirt era and we used to roll our skirts up at the waist! Thanks for the memories.

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    1. You are most welcome, Sharon! We had to read out loud, too! I was an old stick-in-the-mud as a child. I was so conservative! My mother sewed me a mini skirt and I cried! I didn't want to wear it! Even now, I prefer my skirts longer than shorter.

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  8. We had to memorize poems in elementary school too and perhaps even in Middle School, I don't remember. I like poetry OK through my teens but now I can't stand it. I'd read a sports article before reading a poem!

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    1. That's interesting that you liked them in your teens but don't care for them, now. I guess sometimes our interests change as we get older. :)

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  9. The poems/songs from our youth are such sweet memories.. I can tell our grandchildren about some of them.. And they will giggle. Then I sing them, some of their 1 st grade songs/poems and they really giggle.

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    1. My daughter can't believe I still remember them! She had to memorize poems, too, but she forgot them once the tests were over! LOL.

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  10. What lovely memories of school you have - apart from your teacher getting married! I'm sure we'd have learned poems at school but I can't remember any. One of Amy's English literature modules is Christina Rossetti. Amy loves poetry so enjoys these lessons xx

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    1. I'm sure you learned poems, although you've forgotten them. That's great that Amy loves poetry and is learning about Christina Rossetti. "When I am dead, my dearest, sing no sad songs for me" - I love that poem; it's so true.

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