It was a morning of all mornings, and for an eight year old, waking up to face yet another daunting task. The year was 1969, a sunny day, the world felt like giants, racing in the school, down the hill towards the main playground and noises of a thousand screaming children doing exactly the same thing. Every morning was the same, like clockwork, once in the playground, there was a chance to mingle with friends until the bell went, which always struck at precisely 09:00 am, the screaming would stop, instantaneously, not a sound, we all would be looking into the direction of the voice:
Stay where you are, you over there, I don’t need to tell you twice, right when I ring this bell a second time, I expect you all to go, in an orderly fashion, quietly
As the bell was rung, the only sound was the sound of our little bodies, afraid to make a sound. I was there, along with several others to one of the prefabricated buildings, (the reason why they had these buildings was because there so many children, which was mainly due to so much working going on in the factory nearby).
Once inside the building, it was trying to find out which classroom I was supposed to be in, looking at the list on the wall, I proceeded to a door on the far side. As I entered the noise was as deafening as it were out on the playground, scrambling to find a place to sit, I finally found a place where I was perched between the twins, Karen and Kathleen. It felt like a magnet, no matter which class they were always there with me, I don’t know how the teachers worked it out to be that way, and another thing, they quite enjoyed it, teasing me.
The noise was increasing, getting louder and louder, no teacher to be seen until a loud voice came over quite unexpectedly:
Right children, enough the chatter, I have work for you, you know what you should be doing when you come in here, why do I have to keep on reminding you?
That was the trouble, we knew what we should be doing, but somehow we relied on them telling us. Anyway the teacher cut through a box and started producing exercise books, I remembered, the pale green colour and smelling that new smell of paper once the leaves were opened. As I took my book from her, this is where my fantasy began; she gave us instructions on what to put in to the book:
O k children, with these books I have given out to you, I would like you to write down what you did at the weekend, only briefly.
At first, when she said this, I felt as if they were imposing on our privacy, why did they want to know what we did at the weekend, but then I thought this could be a great opportunity to show off my story writing skills, which is exactly what I did.
I tried to concentrate but kept on getting distracted by them, yes, the twins, Karen and Kathleen. I tried to block them out but it was hard as they kept making me laugh getting me in to more trouble. Eventually, I finally buckled down and whizzed away with my imagination.
My story began so realistically, typical family, breakfast, laughing, discussion; I don’t know why I didn’t write the truth, what was I afraid of? At first I felt, this is what they wanted to hear, but then I felt, there’s no backing down I just wanted to see where this story would take me.
The juices were flowing within me, in my head, all I saw were words in front of me, gathering at each pace, words coming from the left of me, and to the right of me. I saw the story enfolding on the sheet of paper as if watching a movie in black and white. But was it believable, well, looking back, I don’t think so. Through my wild and inventive imagination, I completed the first part of my book, as I raised my hand for another, and did this several times, while creating images in my eight year old brain, it felt like magic.
O k children, not long to go, let’s wrap this up now, you have ten minutes
Just as I was getting carried away, I was finding it harder to put closure to this fictitious story, but I did, I think it had one of most ridiculous endings ever. Already, I had gone through three news journals and the teacher is looking pretty suspicious. I caught one of the twins reading over my shoulder, but, I quickly covered my work, from anymore prying eyes. I just could not have anyone blowing my cover, this was my story.
The teacher started to walk around the room, glancing at every pupil, sometimes smiling, sometimes grunting at each pupil. She was within earshot from my desk, and let out a smile, I didn’t know what it meant, but I knew by the time she came to reading my work, she would be baffled in her head. I kept on thinking, she might call me over and ask me to describe what I did, I would simply say:
Can I help it, if my family like to do a lot of things on weekends?
That was the thing; I was ready to believe in my own fantasy, through the mind of an eight year old. Strange that.