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Flowers for the teacher



I am reading Violet Beverly Cleary’s Ramona The Brave at the moment, for the second time – the first time I read it to her she was four, and hadn’t been to school yet. Ramona has a teacher who she feels doesn’t like her, who is always calm, who cares for order and numbers. Ramona would prefer her to be more emotive and creative. Violet worries a lot about her new teacher, even though it’s a whole four months before she will get one. The problem is I can’t control this situation – just like I can’t control so many. All I can say is that I had a teacher who didn’t much like me and then I had another one, who was a bit bored, and had a giant mole he revealed every time he perched on a desk and his walk shorts rode up. I remember some cool stuff I did with the grumpy teacher though – posters of Ulysses driving a stake into the Cyclops’ eye, making Danish open sandwiches. That was the year John Lennon was shot, and all the standard ones and twos sang ‘Imagine’ on the striped mat.

I was struck by Violet’s conviction that her teacher would take every single flower home, that she would place them on a windowsill, or perhaps put them in a room with all the other flowers, and when she opened the door they would avalanche out, already turned into potpourri.

Hey, it’s only a month until Mansfield and Me is published now – I shall try to blog more so you don’t forget about it! I got an advance copy – here are a few sneaky pictures.


4 Comments leave one →
  1. William laing permalink
    09/09/2016 1:35 pm

    Looks wonderful

  2. 09/09/2016 1:39 pm

    I love this! so much going on. Those multiple overlaying anxieties – the sweet scented flower almost like an antidote

  3. 09/09/2016 2:15 pm

    I also used to bring a rose for my teacher daily when I was in sixth grade.
    There were a few teachers who didn’t like me in school but that drove me to work hard so that one day I could say ‘look you didn’t like me and now I’m so successful’ and I did that.

  4. 13/09/2016 12:45 pm

    The fact that Violet looks so grown up and is going to school is astonishing to me. And speaking of time passing in the blink of an eye, Beverly Cleary turned 100 on April 12th. One hundred years. They threw her a big party in Oregon.

    And yet, it feels like I’ve been waiting forever to read your Mansfield memoir. Funny thing, time. It’s one of the things I have anxiety over.

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