Sunday, 3 April 2011

Storytelling Sunday: The Day Our Pens Froze

We were gathered round the fire in Granny's house, not so long ago. The Tall One had stretched his very long legs right out into the middle of the room; and Higgins, the three-legged cat, was trying to limbo underneath. Granny and The Small One were playing their favourite game: Granny describes a bit of her old school and The Small One tells her if it is still there. Most of it is.

A chance remark, and The Small One suddenly looked up. I knew she was going to ask the question most youngsters with teacher-parents hear more than once: did your Mum ever teach you?

Why, yes! She did. Though it really started with my Dad...

He was Head of a school in the same building as our Primary; and he happened to be passing our classroom one day when our teacher had been called away. He stepped inside and he restored calm with his quiet authority which owed a lot, I suspect, to the twinkling eye and lilting voice of a Welshman far from home. Our teacher wouldn't be back, he said, not this week anyway. And then he did what any sensible man would. He went off to phone the missus.

My Mum arrived shortly after, for the week. And, do you know? I enjoyed every minute of it. It was a privilege to watch her at work. We did art, we did hstory. We did poetry - Walter de la Mare's "The Listeners" - spooky, haunting. I can remember that. But the bit we both remember best, I think, was The School Trip.

We had been looking forward to it for weeks; and the thought that it might have been cancelled made stepping on that bus all the sweeter. It was crisp when we set out, even crisper when we got there. And, as the temperature continued to drop, we shivered our way round the thatched cottage, the old church, the blacksmith's forge (bit warmer in there). By the time we reached the old schoolhouse it was so cold our pens had frozen. We couldn't write. No more notes!

We made our projects up as we went along when we got home. But I'm wondering still just how cold was that school many, many years ago? And could that be why a certain teacher I know still buys me thermal vests for Christmas?

Happy Mothers Day, Mum!

And that is the story of the day our pens froze. Now, have you got a story to share? Newcomers very welcome! Link us up - we'd love to visit...


45 comments:

Karen said...

As always a beautifully told story Sian. What fun to be taught by your mum, whe sounds like a brilliant and inspiring teacher.

Amy said...

My Mum taught at the Primary School we all attended, she has great stories of having to turn a blind eye when one of us was having to sit outside the staff room for disciplinary reasons!

Oh, and it is not likely that our pens would ever freeze over here!

Happy Mother's Day Sian :-)

Winnie said...

Great story and memory Sian. Happy Mother's Day!

Kirsty.a said...

Another great story - and a lovely layout. I've got a school phto featuring my Nann somewhere - wonder where it is?

Bernice said...

I was taught by Mum for a whole year at Infant School in what would now be called Yr 1. I called her Mummy and some of my friends did too. The only time I called her Mrs Coldicott she didn't hear me!

Cathy (Katy) said...

What a delightful story and gorgeous layout. Have found your lovely blog through BFS and look forward to seeing more of it.

scrappyjacky said...

A wonderful story as always,Sian.I remember my first ever classroom had a fire in it....would make health and safety go into meltdown today!!!

alexa said...

A lovely story, beautifully told! I loved the line about phoning the missus :). Your Mum sounds wonderful, and hope she has a glorious day.

Jimjams said...

Another cracker - both story and page! Is that really your class in 1978??? or the original schoolhouse crew? Certainly got a vintage look about them!

Miss Smith said...

Love story, and a great page!

darkpoetess said...

beautifully written, Sian. I would love to join in and link up - on this day more than any other - but I find that my own pen has frozen :-(

Lisa said...

have loved dipping in and out of your stories the last few Sundays. This is such a lovely one!
Happy Mother's Day!

Jo said...

A great story and a lovely layout Sian. We went on a school trip once and it rained so much the teacher had to flag down a passing car and ask the driver to go and find our coach! Have a good Mother's Day x

Gail said...

Lovely story Sian and what a delight to be taught by your mother. It's not Mother's Day overhere till next month. Happy Mother's Day.

Clair said...

Sian. If you wrote a collection of short stories just like this I would be the first to buy one x

Angelfish said...

I was just thinking you should write a book too, Sian:)
Another evocative story x

Ladkyis said...

What a wonderful story I love it. I have linked to my story but for some reason the formatting is all to h**l so it looks like one continuous stream of text, not how I did it at all and it refuses to be edited!

Carmen said...

Gorgeous story Sian. I often wondered if kids whose parents were teaching had tyo call them Mrs... or if 'Mum' still slipped out :)

Louise said...

brilliant story Sian and great page too...loving the photo and wondering which one is you??

Becky said...

Lovely story Sian and I really like your layotu too :)

Deb @ PaperTurtle said...

Happy Mother's Day to you, Sian! This is a lovely story to share on your Mother's Day. The father of my best friend in high school was our math teacher and it was always fun to be in his classroom. I suspect she felt the same sense of pride seeing him in action.

Thanks for hosting another round of Storytelling Sunday. I'm happy I was able to participate this time. :o)

Jana said...

Happy Mother's Day to you. This story is wonderful. I love these. One day I will join in on the fun.

furrypig said...

I love reading all the stories and hope to join in one of these days! I still can't imangine pens freezing wow!

Alana said...

Great story as ever. Btw my gran and grandad were Welsh too. Crymu um beth!

laurie said...

wow, that must have been really cold! i got the shivers just reading it. your mom sounds like a wonderful teacher, as well as a great mom!

Maria Ontiveros said...

Amazing story - so hard to believe it could be that cold! When my mom was a teacher, I used to enjoy helping her grade exams (the multiple choice ones).
Rinda

Miriam said...

I love this story as well Sian, how wonderful to have your mum with you. Happy mothering Sunday to yu both. x

scrappysue said...

Happy Mother's Day Sian! What a great story and your writing is lovely

Ruth said...

Another perfect story with a perfect LO. Sorry I didn't manage to join in this month.

Gem's Crafts said...

I enjoyed reading your story Sian, I hope I'm not too late with mine? Wasn't sure if there were any rules. I'm looking forward to reading what comes next, love reading your blog :)

Ginger said...

Beautiful story Sian and a wonderful one for your mum! Happy Mother's Day to you as well :)

Scrappi Sandi said...

What a fabulous story! You really ought to write your memoirs for publication!!

Happy Mothers Day to you!! ♥

Mary B said...

Thank you Sian its been great to join in and read all of the stories.

Melissa said...

A wonderful story Sian - I love the way you introduced it with a recent memory that led to the story. And that's a nice layout!

Miriam said...

Sorry, another one from me Sian. I have just been able to read all the stories tonight. I absolutely love them so I wanted to say thanks to you for hosting Story Telling Sunday. I love how I read a story and it triggers another memory in my head! I hope you had a happy Mothering Sunday, I have spent many Mothers day's in the car, sleep well xx

Lynn said...

another great story telling sunday - well done. Can't imagine how cold it must have been for the pens to freeze!

tidbitsandtreasures2011 said...

I've read several of these stories today and enjoyed them so much. I'll be back later to make my way through the rest.

Thanks for hosting Storytelling Sunday--what a terrific idea. I added a story of my own and hope to participate again next month. In the meantime, please forgive my messy link--I'll do better next time.

Cheri said...

Well told as always Sian - seems you had a lovely childhood!

Denise said...

I really enjoyed reading your story. It conjured up school days for me when I was a youngster and really reminded me of how cold it could get then. I so remember washing freeing on my mum's line- that's a memory for me!

Abi said...

Happy Mothers day to you and what a lovely story! xxx

Karen said...

Another beautifully written and captivating story, Sian. It made me think of my mother who was the only math teacher in my high school, so I had her for both algebra and geometry. Then we moved to a new state. It worked out fine, but it was certainly easier NOT to have your parent be your teacher.

Curlywiggles said...

Love me some JBS and you totally rocked it here, delightful page! Love the sanding on the coredinations cardstock, lovely effect. Have you seen the new JBS coredinations line? It's really different.

Sandra said...

I hope you had a lovely mothers day and got well and truly spoilt. I do adore your stories and have to agree, you should right a book. Mind you, don't stop writing your stories on here :)

Lizzie said...

Hope you had a lovely Mother's Day, Sian!

Great story and fun page to go with it - tell me that photo wasn't your class!! (but of course you could have been in costume...) I like scrap pages with old photos included - it's great to see a snapshot of history preserved for a bit longer, and given some extra context. How often you see boxes of photos, on those TV programmes about selling your stuff at auction, where there are no stories, no memories, not even names or dates on the back. It seems rather sad - they did mean something to someone, once.

Your story made me smile. We had a girl named Annabel, in my class at school. Her mother was our teacher for a year and she had to call her "Mrs Brown". We always felt sorry when Annabel was in trouble, because we felt she got told off more severely than us... I suppose her mum may have been afraid of favouritism, but it seemed a bit rotten.
I had to smile at Bernice, saying that she called her mother "Mummy" when she was her class teacher - and so did some of her friends! J. used to call me "Mummy" when I helped in class - and the same thing happened to me occasionally too - or else the child couldn't remember my name and just said "J's Mummy?" when he/she wanted help!

humel said...

Lovely story (of course!) I wonder sometimes what it's really like for The Children to be taught by me. They're pretty much used to it now I think. And we've gotten past the stage where The Girl's friends call me 'Mrs The Girl's Mum'...

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