Tag Archives: school

Sharing My World 84

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Share Your World II 11-26-18

If your five year old self woke up in your current body, what would happen, what would you say?

I would probably look at my hands and think, wow, I have Grandma skin! Five year olds don’t normally look in a mirror unless they are carefully applying bright red lipstick in a circle from forehead to cheeks to chin just before leaving for church. Then I would be super excited that I could reach things without standing on tip toes. And finally I would find my mom and say “Hey! Look at me! NOW am I big enough to go to school?”

What is a relationship deal breaker for you? Whether you are talking about a romantic one, a friendship or a related to sort of relationship?

This might seem like an odd answer coming from someone who thinks she can tell very credible lies, but I don’t want to be lied to. Or taken advantage of. Or told to quit ending sentences with prepositions. I lie only if it keeps me out of trouble and doesn’t hurt or incriminate anyone else. So that’s a discriminating kind of fib teller I guess. As if there are degrees of wrongness about not telling the truth. Maybe I’m lied to all the time and have no clue, but if I see through a lie I’m doubly offended that someone thinks I’m dumb enough to believe them.

Is there something out there, a thought, an idea, a current event, or a fear that you find deeply unsettling?

Global warming and what sort of horrible world we’re leaving for our grandchildren. Consumerism could kill us all. We can blame the big environment destroyers all we like, but we are the idiots demanding the crap they produce.

And one that is a bit whimsical:

If you were arrested with no explanation, what would your friends and family assume you had done?

Having spent a large portion of my life trying to convince myself that what other people think is not my problem, not important, and none of my business, I am at a complete loss to answer this. So I asked W the question. Surprisingly he was pretty prompt coming up with an answer. He would assume some secret from my past had finally come to light. He used the word “clandestine”. He told me when I say I’m going to Michael’s for yarn, I could be doing something else entirely. How clever he must think I am to come back home in an hour or less with a Michael’s bag full of yarn to cover my tracks. Woman of mystery. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve known someone or even lived with them, they can still surprise you. In our case, I guess that works both ways.

Finally

What were you grateful for this week? Something that brought some joy into your world?

My new keyboard for my IPad! Although my fat forgetful fingers are getting better, there has been a lot of fumbling and stumbling and wearing out of the delete button while I get back to what I think of as normal typing with all ten fingers. Its already getting better. Maybe blogging will start to feel like less of a pain again. You lucky blog readers.

The other thing giving me joy is crocheting. Like everything else, I go on binges. First it was slippers, then rugs that look like braided, and now suddenly it’s hats because I found a pattern. And bought a Pom-pom maker on one of my fake trips to the store. Life is good. And for all you know, I’m not talking about my secret one when I say that.

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Sharing My World 34

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Share Your World 2015 Week 34

Was school easy or difficult for you? How so?

By the time I started formal school (before there was pre-school or kindergarten available to us, in a one room country schoolhouse a mile and a half walk from our farm) I was six years and four months old and fairly bursting with enthusiasm to know everything there was to know.  Like a greedy little sponge I soaked it all up and chalked up the A’s.  I remember it being academically easy breezy all the way through grades one to eight.  High school showed me how socially awkward I could be (there’s some skills that are hard to teach) and that I might not be as smart as I had always imagined. Oh, I continued to get marks in the 90’s, but suddenly I was 15th in a class of thirty brainiacs.  Middle of the road!  What? Yep, it’s a big world out there, full of people with all kinds of mad talents.

Teachers College taught me that I did not want to teach.  By the time I got around to going to University it had finally dawned on me that no one really cares whether you pass with a 95 or a 65, except maybe your professor.  Or your mother.  It was kind of nice to slack off and stop trying so hard.

Then I got married in a time when it was normal to set your own goals aside and support your husband in achieving his.  So I worked and had babies while he pursued his career.  I didn’t resent it, I was too damned busy to worry about such things.  We did what we did for each other and our kids.  In comparison to real life, school was just a fondly remembered walk in the park.

However, going back to school when I was about half a century old was not easy at all because of the self-discipline involved in getting my lazy brain to perk up and learn new skills.  I spent four years working full time while taking the optical courses required to become a licensed optician and contact lens fitter.  And yeah, I got 90’s!  I guess it all came back to me.

Now I am retired and the only tests I want to take from now on are the moronic ones on Facebook which make you question your sanity for even reading them.

What is your favorite animal?

I like giraffes, zebras and elephants.  As well as wallpaper borders which prominently feature them, in case you failed to guess that.  I also think tigers are beautiful, fierce and majestic.  However, if any or all of these favourites were galumphing about in my backyard and I had to clean up after them, I might like them slightly less.  I will try to be happy with the magpies and the squirrel.  And the occasional wandering house cat.

If you had to have your vision corrected would you rather: glasses or contacts?

Well I could write a book on this one, but I will take a stab at being precise and brief instead.  You might not have a simple choice  of either/or, depending on your prescription.  So go with whatever your eye care professional advises for you.  Because she is undoubtedly incredibly smart and probably scored 90’s on all her exams.

List: Name at least five television shows (past or present) you enjoyed.

Like the rest of this post, in random order and all over the place:

  1. Once Upon a Time
  2. Suits
  3. Doctor Who
  4. Damages
  5. Sense 8
  6. The Good Wife
  7. White Collar
  8. Covert Affairs
  9. Bones
  10. Psych

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I meant to have some art ready for your perusal by now, but the thing I’m working on is half-finished and needs to cook.  Or sit at room temperature while I ponder what to do with it next.  So, any day now.  I am grateful for having no deadlines.

Next week, who knows?  I live each day as it comes, savour and bask in the pleasure of now, and try not to let my mind wander too far in to the murky depths of the future.  In other words, I will know what I was looking forward to when it gets here.  This way there is little room for disappointment.

It’s a gorgeous sunny late August day, and time for my mail walk.  Or saunter.  Yes, I think this might be a good day for a saunter.  I’m giving myself an A for that decision.

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Sharing My World 24

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Mother Natures April Fools Day Humour

Share Your World – 2015 Week #13

What was your favorite subject in school?

Language Arts, or whatever name it goes by now.  Back in the dark ages when I went to school this subject was called English and broken down into reading, spelling, grammar and composition.  I loved them all.  Although my spelling wasn’t one of my highest priorities and as a result there are still words I don’t like to spell correctly the first time.  Spell check makes me doubly lazy.  Plus it also appears to have a sense of humour with its sometimes bizarre suggestions.

Both my parents were sticklers for excellent grammar so we learned to say things properly to avoid having them constantly correct us.  They both instilled a love of reading in us, by reading to us until we could read for ourselves.   Do kids still have to parse a sentence and identify all the parts of speech?  One underline for subject, double underline for verb, triple for object, adjectives and adverbs and phrases in brackets with arrows to what they modify.  Then name the conjunctions, pronouns, prepositions, etc.   I love all those rules which I often delight in breaking with run-on or incomplete sentences and dangling participles and orphan which clauses.  Excellent grammar can sometimes sound very snobbish, so usually I write the way I talk and break many of the rules.  Just so you know it’s (mostly) on purpose.

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take,  but by the moments that take your breath away” (George Carlin).  When have you had such a moment?

At the births of my children (after all that heavy breathing) and when seeing each one of my grandchildren for the first time.  There’s something about a newborn baby or a baby of any age that melts my heart.  I look at those perfect little faces and forget to breathe.

There was also that time in Scotland when we got off the bus at Glencoe and looking at those noble green hills gave me the weirdest sensation of deja vu.  Maybe I was a Highland warrior in a previous life, or lost loved ones in the massacre of 1692.  It’s also possible, (because of my retracted ear drum which I believed at the time was caused from the stuffiness of a head cold),  that I was simply high on decongestants.

What’s your choice: jigsaw,  crossword,  or numeric puzzles?

I’ve been seriously addicted to all three, but thankfully not all at once.  My various obsessions last until I get bored or realize I’m wasting an incredible amount of time that could be better spent, and then I move on to a new addiction and repeat the process.  My choice at the moment would be crosswords of medium difficulty.  The really hard ones make me feel stupid.  And nobody likes that.

If you found an obviously abandoned car with $50,000 in the back seat, what would you do?

If I knew for certain that I would never get caught, I would take the money home with me and hide it under my mattress.  Because you don’t want to create suspicion by suddenly depositing a lot of cash in the bank.  And then I would have to pray that the house didn’t burn down.  But who is EVER certain of not being found out?  And if we’re not called on something, we eventually blurt out the truth on our own because the burden of keeping a secret drives us nuts.

So I would call the police.  Because it’s the right thing to do.  And I’m rather boring like that.

The grateful for and looking forward to part….

Late yesterday afternoon we had a delightful rain with thunder and everything.  Then over night the rain turned to blowing snow.  It looks like January out there.  So I’m grateful to be inside where it’s warm and not out driving anywhere in this.

I’m looking forward to finishing the reading of a book.  ANY book.  Amazon keeps sending me e-mails asking me to rate the books I’ve purchased and I haven’t read them yet!  I get annoyed with the emails because I’m annoyed with myself.  And I’m also annoyed that when I start reading where I left off I have no idea what’s going on and have to backtrack a few pages to figure it out.  So lately it’s two pages back, three forward, and then I fall asleep.  I’m grateful there is nothing more serious to be annoyed about.

It’s too cold and blustery to go for a walk and search for abandoned cars full of cash, so I’ll just curl up on my couch and play word games instead.  In no time at all I will find myself gasping at my own breath-taking brilliance!  HAHA!  Mother Nature is not the only one who does funny things.

 

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Chemistry

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Good morning sunshine!

Well, it’s not morning anymore, but the a.m. of today was a gorgeous one.  The first of over three hundred more that are not the first of April.  I don’t like pranks and jokes and being fooled.  Even though I am often a great and gullible target.  Or maybe that’s exactly why shenanigans and trickery aggravate me so much.

Anyway, the SUNSHINE!  I thought today we were supposed to go sailing into many degrees on the plus side of zero celsius, but apparently that’s next week.  They say.  I’m beginning to dislike THEY.  Because now they say we’re getting snow showers this afternoon.  Seriously.  They need to keep this information to themselves if they can’t think of anything nice to tell us.

So what does all this have to do with the Daily Prompt: Land of ConfusionWhich subject in school did you find impossible to master? Did math give you hives? Did English make you scream? Do tell!

Well, it has nothing to do with it, really, except to illustrate why I simply don’t have the right character to be good at every subject there is.  I’m much too inattentive and unfocused (and yes, confused) to be messing around and dealing with really important stuff.   No, English did not make me scream. I loved English.  Math gave me a lot of headaches.   But Chemistry made me pull my hair out and wish to die.  I guess it’s good that there are people out there who care about the composition and properties of substances and various elementary forms of matter and their reactions and phenomena.  Without those people we would not have dangerous cleaning products and makeup. 

But who thought putting a bunch of teenagers in a room with substances that react to other substances including fire and water was a good idea?  I have told the story elsewhere of how a grade twelve classmate and I dropped a recently blown out match into a garbage can and blew it up.  It was an accident.  And it was only a small explosion.  It taught me to blow out a match and then hold it under running water before disposing of it amongst flammable materials.  So I guess you could say chemistry was not a complete waste of time for me, but I definitely don’t remember much else about it.  Except maybe for how much I hated the periodic table.

If high school chemistry had dealt with sympathetic understanding, rapport, and the interaction of one personality with another, now that I might have been good at.  Where all the answers weren’t H2O and Bunsen burners.  Okay, those were only my answers, but you know what I mean. 

On second thought, maybe unleashing all that touchy feely stuff in a room full of teenagers isn’t a really smart idea either.

What was your worst subject in school?  What’s the weather like where you are?  If you’re a world famous chemist or if you’re living in one of those places where the grass is green and crocuses are blooming, I take it back – I don’t think I want to hear about it.  Even if it’s just a prank.

Still Waters Run Deep

still water and treeline
still water and treeline (Photo credit: the|G|™)

What a week.  I am out of practice in the ‘mom’ role, that’s for sure, the proof being that one preteen and one small dog seem to have taken over the entire household which now revolves around them. Not that that’s a bad thing.  God knows we could use some shaking up around here once in a while.

There have been daily rides to and from her school, which is all the way across the city.  W took care of that.  Our granddaughter made her own lunches, studied for her own tests, did her own homework, took her own showers, got herself dressed and ready every morning.  All I did really was make breakfast for her and then get myself off to work.  So it’s kind of a giant mystery why I think I’m tired.

I bought one of the little books in Anne Morelands 1001 Ways to series.  The choices are Confidence, Success, Happiness, Tranquility, Wisdom, Patience – all things I could see no reason to want to improve upon in myself (hahaha – see, I’m so tired I can’t even think straight), so I chose Enlightenment.  Because we could all use some of that, right?

There are no magic recipes, but the book is filled with lots of inspiring quotes.  Probably a thousand and one of them.  Still Waters Run Deep has no source credited, but it’s something one of my teachers said to me once in high school when I was zoned out and daydreaming in class.  Thinking deep thoughts.  Or something like that.  Being quiet on the outside but a very interesting and complicated person on the inside. That’s my story of what he meant by it, and I’m sticking to that interpretation.  Because somehow acting brain-dead doesn’t have as nice a ring to it.

Flower Still Water
Flower Still Water (Photo credit: DeusXFlorida (2,006,995 views) – thanks guys!)

The still waters phrase is a good one to describe my granddaughter too.  She’s a very thoughtful girl who doesn’t say a lot unless it’s something of some importance that needs to be said.  She reads, she writes, she looks things up and she figures things out.  She is already giving dating and relationship advice to her grade six friends.  I sincerely hope it’s not coming from personal experience just yet.

And that she’s not in too great a hurry to grow up.  That will happen fast enough all on its own.

 

Last Letter From Rimbey

W will be heading home this week from his extended stay in Ontario.  I’m not kidding with the ‘extended’ part.  He’s been gone for almost six months.  My comfy, lazy, living alone days are about to come to an end.  The huge difference between 2012 and 1936 – when my dad left for his extended adventure in the wild west – is that we can phone and text daily if we feel like it.  For my mom and dad there were only a couple of letters back and forth in a month or so.  I think that must have made it feel like their time apart would go on forever as they lead their separate lives.

In this letter (the last one I have) dad seems to be winding down and wearing out from working hard and playing harder.  He’s sounding ready to head back home.

Rimbey, Alberta

October 1, 1936

Dear Marg,

I received your very welcome newsy letter last week and was I glad to hear from you, or was I?   Well I’ll say so.  I’m so glad you got a school.  What’s Marguerite doing now?  You didn’t say.  I suppose Newton is still at the same school.  There are so many questions I would like to ask it would take most of the night so I’ll quit.  I hope to see you before Santa Claus comes and when I do, Oh boy!  Won’t you see a happy boy.

I wouldn’t try to fool you by telling you I haven’t been enjoying myself here because I have really been having a whale of a time and am only half decided on whether I want to leave or not.  I told Alvin Boetger I’d call for him at Moosejaw on the way home, so I guess I’ll strike out anyway, although I haven’t any idea when. It will likely be some time yet because this job lasts for at least a month if I’ll stay.  I don’t know my own mind for any length of time.

The night I posted that last letter I broke the axle of the car and I rode to Springdale on horseback and what a night.  Twelve miles both ways.  I left here about ten and got there for three dances, then rode back again.  I let the horse walk and the sun was just coming over the edge of the hills when I arrived home.  I certainly felt great the next few days.  I was hobbling around like an old man.  It’s all worn off by now of course.

There’s another dance tomorrow night at the same place, so I’ll say goodbye to everybody just in case I take a notion.  The way I did when leaving home.  I don’t know whether it would be safe for me to land in home now or not.  I might have some difficult questions to answer.  Oh well, I’ve had lots of things to figure out for myself all summer.  Harold tells me I’ve changed a hell of a lot this summer – what do you think of that?  I hope it’s for the better.  I sort of have my doubts though.  I’ll ask you when I see you.  (next spring??)

Threshing Scene
Threshing Scene (Photo credit: Galt Museum & Archives on The Commons)

I hear nearly everybody is getting married up there.  I hope you haven’t any such foolish notion!?  I think it’s too much fun this way myself.  I’ve been disking the last few days with six horses abreast and is it dusty.  I got in seven days of threshing – wasn’t that a lot?  Oh well, I’m still living.  We certainly had a whale of a time threshing.  Harold was the life of the gang.  He sure was foolish.  Well I’ve been talking here for a long time and forgot anything I was going to say, so I’ll sign off for now.

***

Another night.  How are you doing, etc.  Saturday in fact.  I’m waiting for my boss to bring back my car from town and then I’m going places, to post this letter, etc.  The dance last night was a howling success.  A big time, but not so much fun today.  They tell me I’m getting thin, but I don’t believe it.  I haven’t had a good appetite for the last three weeks but I’m still feeling not too bad.  They tell me I’m  homesick.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re right.  You’ll have to try like a school teacher to make connections in this letter.

Smithson Museum in Rimbey
Smithson Museum in Rimbey (Photo credit: Sherlock77 (James))

There really hasn’t been anything overly exciting happen and I don’t know what to write being you don’t know the people here.  There’s a girl here wants to go back east with us.  She’s taken a shine to Harold I think.  I told her we had a load, sorry, etc.  I’m getting good at saying things I don’t mean – I guess that’s bad, what?

Well kid, I’ll have to call this a letter.  Anyway, I made a stab at it, which is more than I did during the summer.  The car is coming, so toodeloo.

With loads of love and kisses,

Hank.

My Mother Was A Dreamer (Part Two)

The second letter my mother wrote to herself was on her twenty-fifth birthday, to her thirty-year-old self.  She’s a bit deleriously in love I think.

R.R. 4 Port Elgin

Feb. 17, 1942

Happy Birthday Margaret.

And how does it feel to be thirty?  Today as I sit in S.S. # 4 Saugeen on my twenty-fifth birthday evening, I do indeed wish you the very best in health and contentment as you leave your twenties.  But on this, my birthday, let’s look back a few years.  Yes, carefree Marnie of twenty, I have had a lot of dreams come true.  By June I will have finished six years of teaching.  Marnie never dreamed of a No. 9 Bruce with Mr. and Mrs. White and Helen, all the swell children there at school, and the Christmas Cake and other ways they showed their kindness.  The crocinole games and hockey matches and baseball games and even a high (or was it low?) dash cutter.  But it too is past and it’s funny that I should really be teaching in No. 4 after sort of wishing for that all along.  That’s one dream come true.

But far above them all is the one of really having the love of the only one for me in all I’ve known.  Through the years we’ve known eachother, our lives have in many ways been linked together even though at times we’ve seemed far apart.  For two years now we’ve shared a secret too precious for others to know and so real, we hope this year our dreams may come true.  That is why his Margie is so very happy on her 25th birthday.  And may it be the very special year for us if God wills.

And as I look into the future and see you in 1947 – if you are still Margie – if you still deserve his care and kindness – if you remember always the little things that help life for others – if you have not forgotten the place your Church should play in your life – if you can smile though life has not given you all you hoped for, then you have not disappointed me.

At twenty five you hoped for someone to call you Marnie now,  and though no one does, well you don’t seem to mind.  Even if your castles in the air have not all come true, I’m sure my dear you’ve had your share of life’s treasures too.  But if you can touch his hand and hold close his curly head, you have a priceless treasure, and that is my true wish for you, my dream girl of 1947.

New friends are probably near, but still there is, now and always,  Blanche, Lena, Vera (who I hope may soon be someone I’ve really seen) and Nina too though she now lives in Manatoulin Island as Mrs. May and Blanche is Mrs. Delbert Wheatley and Ettie is Mrs. Carmen Currie.  And Marguerite will always be someone very special.

Our family too is scattering and I’m wondering where we will all be in 1947.  Mabel is now in Toronto and Gomer in the R.C.A.F. in Toronto, and Edna at high school and Mother and Dad at home.  Many changes have taken place too.  Grandpa and Aunt Abbie both gone and Grandma still with us and very much her old self.

Can you remember the stormy 17th, dusk gathering as you sat writing by the fire at the back of the school, and now home to Jamiesons and maybe a word or two more from there.  There always seems to be things we regret and one of them is the 2 lb. box of chocolates that came yesterday.  But tonight, nothing can mar the happiness – a letter and card from Hank “Looking Ahead” and a telephone call from Dad and home.  Tonight what I wear or what I’m doing seems so very unimportant because life seems all bound up in a certain someone who is in Nobel and still says he does so love his Margie.  And though we are separated by miles tonight we seem nearer than ever, and if that love grows richer with life’s experiences you will, Margie, be very very happy on this, your thirtieth birthday.

Bye from Margie, on her twenty-fifth Birthday.

I don’t know why I know this, but the disappointing regretful box of chocolates was from another man who very much wanted to be in my mother’s life.  She was such a lovely and kind person I don’t think she knew how to get rid of him. Especially without giving away her special secret.

Five months after this letter was written, the “secret” was finally revealed to all and my parents got married.  They had at last saved enough money to buy their first home together.  It was the last year that mom would teach school.  And my brother was born in April of 1946, so I hope you will forgive my mother for not having time for something as silly as writing yet another letter to her future self  in 1947, when he wasn’t yet a year old.

In Due Course

Does anyone even remember the list of courses that were mandatory ones in their curriculum in high school? Were there any subjects that stand out in your mind as being crucial to your well-being as a functioning adult? Didn’t think so.

You learn life skills by living your life, not by signing up for a crash course in life skills 101. It’s one thing to make up a budget on paper based on a minimum wage job, a sad little apartment, public transportation and the rationing of milk and shampoo. It’s another thing entirely to actually live that life and wonder where your next meal is coming from and what you’re going to do when your shoes finally wear out. Lectures on money management and domestic skills and family planning can’t hurt, but they also can’t prepare a high school kid for all the eventualities of real life.

Some kids are already living that hand to mouth life. Others will never understand the concept of being without if they live for a million years. And the rest are somewhere in the middle where not everything is handed to them on a silver spoon, but where there are still some things that will never be theirs unless they learn to work really hard to get them.

What is sadly lacking is knowing the value of things, understanding sympathetically, becoming aware, and developing the power to bring about positive change.

How do you teach appreciation, empathy, compassion? Kindness and courtesy? Reverence and respect?

There’s no course in the world that could cover all that. These are things that must be taught by example, and learned by experience. We can’t stop the critical introspection, but maybe we could re-direct the results. Self acceptance is something a teenager fights for every day. If we can help with that first small step, the rest will fall into place. But it probably won’t happen in high school. More likely it will take a lifetime.

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The Year of the Chicken Bones

Long long ago, in a land far away, a girl straight out of highschool’s grade thirteen could pop herself into Teacher’s College and emerge one year later with an elementary school teaching certificate.  Sounds like a fairy tale, but strangely enough it’s true.

Taking the college route seemed like an excellent idea to me at the time.  One more year of school and I could be out on my own, working, making money, being all grown up at last.  It would be a lot easier for my parents to finance, and university could be an option at some later date.  What I failed to take into consideration except on the very shallowest of levels was that I would end up being a school teacher at some point in the future.  Dealing with children.  Helping them learn stuff.  It turned out to be SO not my thing I’m kind of amazed that I even gave it a go.  But that’s how I did a lot of things then.  On impulse, with little thought, confident everything would sort itself out.

This was also the era of  the boarding house.   A friend from highschool was my chosen roommate, and my mother found us a suitable house where we could stay from Sunday night to Friday afternoon and then travel home on the weekends carting gigantic bags of laundry.  Breakfast and dinner every day was included.  We were within easy walking distance of the college, so no vehicle was required.

Mr. and Mrs. Orchard were pensioners who took in boarders during the school year to make ends meet.  That must have been the reason we were there, I can’t imagine that they did it for love of students.  My roomy and I occupied one bedroom on the top floor and a girl from Toronto had the other one to herself.  Our room was barely big enough for two, but we had a lovely big closet and a little balcony overlooking the backyard.  Mr. Orchard was friendly and chatty and we eventually learned to avoid him if we didn’t have time to waste.  Mrs. Orchard was stern and strict and advised us of the house rules.  No boys could visit.  There was a weekday curfew.  Absolutely no food or drink in our rooms.  The previous year they had tried having young men as boarders and they were sorely disappointed.  They were brutes, boors, disgusting pigs.  Something like that, I don’t recall the exact wording, but we certainly got the message.  We were to be young ladies and respectful and professional.  How boring.  But we did try, honestly, we did.

All that walking to and from our classes in the brisk fall and winter air was great exercise, but we invariably had no time for more than toast for breakfast, and almost always skipped lunch, so we would arrive home with voracious unlady-like appetites in the late afternoons.  Mrs. Orchard was a marvelous cook, but her portions were inactive-old-people sized.  One pork chop, a round little scoop of mashed potatoes, three carrots, six peas.  One dollop of gravy optional.  Jello for dessert.  A cup of tea that we would load with sugar and cream simply to ingest some extra carbs.

We weren’t even halfway through September before we started breaking the rules.  It was two-for-one Tuesdays at Kentucky Fried Chicken that pushed us onto the crooked path of deception.   We were walking by and saw the sign.  Our stomachs grumbled.  We had enough change between the two of us to get a couple of dinners.  The place was closing and curfew loomed, so we got it in boxes to go and raced back home and snuck up the stairs to our room with the forbidden food concealed inside our jackets.  It was the best thing we’d ever eaten.  We promised each other that we wouldn’t do it again.  Then we hid the evidence.  We shoved the soiled boxes and picked clean bones into a white and yellow vinyl carry on bag, zipped it up and stuffed it into the dark recesses of our closet.

We didn’t mean for this clandestine Tuesday deceit to become a habit but it did.  Rarely if ever did we miss the weekly chicken run.  We kept meaning to take the yellow bag home on the weekends and empty it out but more often than not it ended up forgotten under our shoes and dirty laundry.  A couple of times we marvelled at its capacity and made wild guesses at what exactly it might weigh, and at what rate we could expect chicken bones to decompose.  On odd Tuesdays if the mood struck we plunked the bag outside in the snow on our little balcony to slow down the process.  We must have taken it home for Christmas.  We would not have wanted to risk Mrs. Orchard discovering it during one of her more thorough cleaning fits.

Our room didn’t start to smell weird until springtime, surprisingly enough.  It’s not like we hadn’t ever emptied the chicken bone bag, but with mid terms and finals and practice teaching weeks it was forgotten more times than was healthy.  We dragged it out of the closet and crossed our fingers that no one would ask us why we were taking a little vinyl bag out for a walk.  We meant to empty it into the nearest refuse container, but when we opened it up the smell and the mould caused us to quickly dispose of the whole thing.  It felt like we were abandoning a dear old friend.  Our little yellow partner in crime.  It was a sad moment.

I’d like to be able to say that long, long ago, in a land far away, a young girl straight out of  Teachers’ College gave up her childish ways and went off on her own to make the world a better place by enriching the minds of the little children entrusted to her care.  Didn’t happen.  It’s not a fairy tale, remember?  What I did learn was that kids scared the hell out of me.  I did not feel mature and responsible enough to be part of their education process, so I took the coward’s way out and headed back to school.  Still with no clear idea of where I was headed or what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, but with an undying  love of Kentucky Fried Chicken which has remained with me to this very day.