Every Child Should Be Taught A Love Of Words!
My response To A Writing Challenge By Marilyn L. Davis
But, Have YOU Said It? A Writing Challenge
This challenge is to write about how you value, use and create your finished piece using our common denominator - words.
The Reign of Terror
With outstretched hands, the boys waited in a line. Anxiety penetrated their little faces. The teacher held the wooden ruler with both hands. Those of us watching, saw her flex the ruler, she bent it this way and then that way. The thin strip of metal embedded along one long edge gleamed back at me in the daylight.
She struck the first pair of knuckles without warning. A sharp involuntarily cry escaped from the boy’s lips. The watching children gasped in unison. The child wrenched his hands back in an effort to avoid the blow which followed but it was too late; she held his hands firmly in hers and finished off her dastardly deed. Slowly and purposefully she continued down the line to deliver more of the same to all the children waiting there.
Terror struck me right through the heart. It took me one moment to decide that if I was going to learn to read, it would need to be done in record time, especially if I was to avoid the same fate.
How I achieved my ambition amid her reign of terror and fear remains a mystery but fortunately for me. it was she who helped me discover the magic of words and books over the coming months. Words became my solace and my escape from this awful reality.
Learning to Read
Forward To The Path Of Knowledge
My mother loved reading and writing. Books she said should be likened to good friends. Books were invented to stop people from feeling lonely. Words in the books have the power to transport you around the world she said, to places both real and imaginary. Words paint pictures. Words can make you laugh or cry. Words will sometimes make you want to yawn from sheer boredom but most of all, words were meant to excite you, to encourage you, to reach for the sky and to teach you to fly. Words can transport you into the World where you will meet fairies or goblins. Words will either lead you down the garden path or lead you along a path of knowledge. It is up to you to decide which path you wish to take.
Girls Crystal and School Friend
One large wall of my parent’s bedroom was lined with tall ebony book shelves. They sagged and sighed under the weight of their burden. The only thing which stopped the books from spewing out onto the ground was the glass fronted sliding doors.
Our parents subscribed to several weekly magazines for us children. The magazines were meant to encourage our enjoyment of reading. Titles included June, Girls Crystal, School Friend and Look and Learn.
My favorite Magazine
My favorite magazine at the time was School Friend. It was an innocent, pre-teen magazine or comic which was published in the 1960’s. It was also the biggest selling girl’s comic/magazine at the time. It was aimed at middle-class British children like myself though there was a strange kind of irony in this for we did not quite fit the bill for we were being brought up in the rolling hills of Zululand in South Africa. Our middle-class parents had left Britain soon after the war, but we were more than happy to follow in their footsteps.
School Friend was followed closely by the more modern June and I loved both publications. My siblings and I exchanged magazines with one another throughout the week. This made it possible for us to extend our reading pleasure until well into the following week by which time; fresh publications would arrive in the post, hot off the press.
School Friend Images of Dogs
Inside the Magazine
Inside the pages of School Friend were fashion items and advice, a few competitions and lots of images of well-groomed dogs. There is no doubt that the publication was a jolly good show old chap kind of magazine. After all, where else would you find stories which portrayed yacht racing, ballet, horse riding or children ski in the Alps?
These publications sent a very interesting message at the time. It was one which pervaded girls' comics of the day. It was clear to me; even then that the women portrayed in these publications had the potential and strength of purpose to realize most of their dreams.
Our parents presented each of us with a hardcover children’s Annual once a year, usually at Christmas. These were devoured and shared with one another.
Anticipation and Expectation
The comics came rolled up into cylinders. wrapped in brown paper and sealed with a piece of sellotape. The recipient’s name was clearly typed on it. The sound of the magazines being slipped through the letterbox was always greeted with squeals of delight and the sound of running feet.
Look and Learn!
Look and Learn was another of the publications. Though I recognized that it was unmatched for quality, it was not my preferred publication. I am sure that it inspired the imagination of many of its readers but sadly, I was not one of them.
Christie's Old Organ
Those daylight hours were never long enough
The daylight hours were never long enough. I never had enough time to consume all the words which were put in front of me.
Friends would arrive at school with a stack of comics for me to read. They always came with a condition attached. They had to be returned to their owner by the following day. Much pressure was brought to bear on the borrower because there was always another child anxiously waiting in wings for their turn to read the pile.
On school nights, our bedtime was seven thirty. I would read until the last glimmer of light had faded from the bedroom. The light in the bathroom adjacent to the shared bedroom was left on at night. I discovered that if I intentionally left the door slightly ajar, the bulb would beam back enough light so that I could read long into the night, without attracting too much attention. Piles of unread comics were regularly slipped between the sheets to help me meet my deadline in the the morning.
Christy's Old Organ
My two favorite book of at that time were Christy's Old Organ and the Far Away Tree. This huge tree, inhabited by fairy-folk was laden with fruit of all kinds from acorns to lemons. In my dreams, I found myself in the topmost branches with ever-changing magical lands above the swirling clouds.
Words never disappointed then and I doubt that they ever will.
A Love of Reading
© 2015 Sally Gulbrandsen