LET ME BE FRANK

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.