Saturday, June 20, 2009

Stories of yore

Today while packing I came across my old school exercise books from infant school (grades K-2). These attractive grey books were issued by the City of Birmingham Education Committee and came in various sizes, lined and unlined. We wrote in them our news and our creative writing efforts.

What I have learned from a quick browse... When I was five-and-a-half in Middles (first grade), I was obsessed with my baby teeth falling out, which they did with great regularity. My parents paid us a penny for each one (no tooth fairy in our house). I gave my "fat and natghty" brother for his 4th birthday all the letters of the alphabet (which I drew and cut into squares myself), in a homemade case wrapped in pink crepe paper. Someone gave him wood and glue and he made "a thing that he called a flying boat." As for my dad - "his name was Dennis when he was a little boy" and "he tells mummy off when she cuts her finger." (Now my husband does the same thing to me.)

In second grade I wrote in my News book, "When I grow up I am going to marry Andrew Cull he is my boyfriend." I don't think Andrew Cull knew about this plan. I wanted to be a teacher and teach "good children" who "are never going to the head teacher for a smake." Those were the days when smacks, wallops and canings from the head teacher weren't illegal. I wrote, "I wonder if I will like it when I grow up."

My second grade Creative Writing book includes stories with titles such as "The Ghost Ship," "The Magic Garden," "The Magic Shoes," "The Island of Magic," "The Island of Tiny People," "The Land of the Funny Faces," "The Day I Was Lost" (told from the point of view of a penny) and "The Invisible Pond," in which a fairy makes a pond invisible and the royal coach drives into it, angering the Queen. The fairy's mother admonishes the fairy with: If you don't make that pond back to normal I shall put you to death. The fairy complies.

If I ever run out of ideas, I could go back to my six-year-old self and see what she comes up with.

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