Jul 23, 2012

Magpie No. 127

A True Story, that Almost Passes Belief.

(This memory from my daughter's early days at school was jogged by Jane Healy's Magpie - No.36 - this week,  following Tess Kincaid's picture prompt.  Thank you Jane. Thank you Tess.)


Figure Eight, 1952, by Franz Kline

Every day, I go to meet my daughter, 5, coming out of school, to walk home with her. Her school-pal's mother is usually waiting also.  If not, I will take the pal home. This is the understanding.  Let's call my daughter's pal "Denise"

Denise's Mum knows I am in the University. She also knows that education is always spelt with a capital "E" - if you know what I mean. This particular day she is there herself, waiting for Denise. We chat about this and that.  We hear the bell tinkling from inside the school.  The children will be getting their school-hats and coats, and soon they'll come charging out, and soon they do.  It is their first year at school.  No one charges quite like a 5 year old.

My daughter and Denise appear together, and both are holding out at arms' length the paintings they have been doing that morning. Two A5 sheets, both of which are riots of colour, the sort of uninhibited work which is not meant to express anything except the sheer joy of getting paint onto paper, particularly when the paper today was big, big, BIG!  Their little faces are shining with achievement. The way they hold their paintings out, at arms length in front of them says "Look at my super picture!" I imagine their art-work blu-tacked to the kitchen wall, or in my study at the Uni.

And what does Denise's mother say?  (Education with a capital "E" remember!)  She says  "Ahh Denise!  What a mess!"

I don't know if this put-down became one of Denise's life-long memories (she's in her forties now) but it certainly became one of mine. As did the memory of her wee face crumpling into tears. 





18 comments:

  1. That is a very sad story, I still have book and books of my childrens drawings and their stories. Once I've shuffled off they will find them all neatly stashed away in chests in the attic and thank me.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I still have a framed drawing in my hall, which my son did at the tender age of eight - it shows a horse and rider, jousting, and I love it to bits. :) I'd say the most important capital 'E' is for Encouragement...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are so right. Pity Denise's Mum lost sight of that. (I still wonder whether she was expecting me to agree with her, or whether she just "lost the place"

      Delete
  3. Oh this makes me grit my teeth...

    ReplyDelete
  4. ugh...some people dont think before they open their mouths...and def dont think about how it will impact the ones they say it to...i see this quite often with kids...and i think some dont even realise they do it...

    ReplyDelete
  5. my children's art was always magnificent to me-but the best was their sheer joy of creating as you so aptly put....that poor child.

    ReplyDelete
  6. nicely done.....thanks for sharing your words

    ReplyDelete
  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm sure it did, Dr FTSE! I still remember vividly (at the age of eleven) being pushed by my mother to sing before my father. We were an entertaining family :), and my brother and my earliest performances were on-stage as tap dancing toddlers. Ugh. Singing before Dad that evening, fresh from his work and relaxing with Scotch in hand, he gave me no encore. Rather, he said, and I'll never forget: 'Well, it isn't Doris Day.' Another 'ugh'.
    I've been told that parents coming through WWII were a different breed. Life had made them tough, and many of us Baby Boomers were raised on their toughness. Did it make us tougher? I think it only made many of us kinder parents.

    ReplyDelete
  9. My heart breaks for that little girl ... no child should be treated so poorly ~~ and, yes ... this is something that sticks forever!!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Perhaps it taught the little firl a valuable life lesson ,that life is cruel, and Darwinistic ! , Darwin is a city in Australia, also, as it is hard to convey on an electronic blog, i am being facetious ! .
    Great stuff, cruel Mother , ouch

    ReplyDelete
  11. Oh, this breaks my heart! I have seen thousands of drawings and paintings by hundreds of children over the years. There is something so joyful as you say, about the artwork of kindergartners, before they put on the self-consciousness that's already there by first or second grade. And how sad that we, nearly all of us, have to lose that 5-year-old joy.

    ReplyDelete
  12. To her own kid - the callous bitch!! I've a wall in my room next to my bed that I hang photo's and paintings etc, of my kids' creativity over the years, changing the display every so often. It's the first thing I see each morning.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Tactless, uneducated, wanting to impress - a very stupid woman. I'm sure that wasn't the first or last put down and I'm sure the 'child' remembers it to this day. One can only hope that the child didn't treat her children the same way. This is so, so sad.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Agree with Brian in that parents do not at times realise the impact of their words on their children. I have never forgotton something my dad said to me when I was at an age where I attented junior school (and he was a good loving dad
    and very educated).

    Not saying it applied to my father - but an educated parent is not automatically a good parent.

    Anna :o]

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And not only parents, Anna - people in general often don't realise the impact of their words on other people! Ada is a prime example - her words can be better than a flail at times. :)
      I hope Doc's Denise survived the unkindness unscathed...

      Delete
    2. Cad - due to my dads (innocent) hurt of me I always made certain I would not inflict same on my childre through ill-thought out remarks - for children do not comprehend at a level adults do.

      I totally agree with you that we have the means and the power to cause great emotional harm - often intentionally.

      Words can be more cutting, more wounding than any knife...

      Anna :o]

      Delete
  15. Even a Hard Hearted Ada like me thinks this lady was a spoil sport.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for stopping by. To make life easier for you I have turned off the new indecipherable and time-wasting verification words. Would you care to "feedback" to Blogger and complain about them, like I did?