I’m sitting in the restaurant at breakfast. The air is crisp and very cold outside but despite that a few hardy souls dressed in summer attire are jogging past.
Class was great yesterday. It was held in an old school building which brings back memories of past school days for me.
I went to school in Tasmania and the buildings were very similar, polished wooden floors tall ceilings and windows that reach to the sky. I spent a lot of time looking out of the windows in my school room and these are similarly frustrating for a child.
Built well above child head height, one could only look up, not out.!!!!
The class room even smelt the same, but the environment couldn’t be more different. It was sunny and bright as the light streamed in through the windows. 26 ladies abuzz with conversation, fabric of all hues on tables and sometimes spilling to the floor. Morning tea of coffee and scones and the scent of a newly flowering pink magnolia.
In my class I remember being constantly cold and afflicted with bright red chilblains on my toes and fingers.
Out teacher alway hit us with the wooden ruler right across the chilblains. The pain still haunts me when I think about it.
I was nine years old. Our class had a number of girls dressed in black sombre uniforms announcing they were from the catholic orphanage down the street. They had to walk to school two by two in lines. I, on the other hand had the joy of hopping on and off the bus to school, of writing my name in the frosted windows and making spit balls out of paper and firing them at will at the boys on the other side of the bus.
The “Orphanage girls” didn’t join in with play and kept to themselves. They were the target of abuse from out vicious maiden teacher. My sense of inequality was raised to it’s ultimate height in that class when she broke a ruler over the fingers of one of the orphanage girls… The girl screamed out in pain as we could hear the crack on her fingers and the bone poked out of the skin showing a fracture. I launched myself at the waist of the crabby teacher, pushing her backwards, I imagine my short pigtails stood on end.
She was so surprised when I announced in my loudest voice……“You’re Wicked” she stopped in her tracks and sat down ‘plop’ on her chair. I ushered the “orphanage” girl out of the room to the nurse. My courage remained inflated by sheer indignation for the rest of the morning. My face probably told everyone to "Leave me alone"
From then on I was the best friend of all the black attired girls who had to walk two by two to school and to church.
I learned one of the best lessons in life at nine years old.
Somehow I felt we made up for the sadness when Jinda and Callie children were able to leave an orphanage and come live with us as family.
It’s interesting how a situation can bring a flood of memories….!!!!!!