Childhood confusions

I am trying to write, and as a result I’m craving diet coke.  I’ve only just realized that I associate diet coke with writing.  When I’m working on an article I can drink 5 or 6 a day.  When I’m not writing I don’t drink it and I don’t want it.

My mother is remembering things on her blog, things about her elementary school.  Well worth reading.  One thing I remember is that my mother used to treat cigarettes the way I treat diet coke.  I never saw her smoking, but when I knocked on her study door and she opened it, great thick clouds of smoke would billow out.  How did she do it?  How did she not smoke in the evenings after supper?  But maybe the desire to smoke drove her into her study once my brother and I were in bed.  So the cigarettes helped with work in two ways.

My mother writes: “I never understood what I was supposed to be doing at school. Sometimes people would say to me, Janet, you should try harder. I’d get my homework or assignment, and do it. What else was required?”

This makes me laugh.  I remember my grade six teacher telling us that we had to read 25 books over the course of the year.  We were supposed to write the titles on an index card.  In December she called me in for a special meeting.  Why hadn’t I been reading for the last two months?  Was something wrong at home?  But of course I had been reading.  I’d just stopped filling out titles after reaching the required 25.  I’d done what she asked;  it didn’t occur to me to do more.

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One thought on “Childhood confusions

  1. This raises an interesting thought. If you give someone a limit(in this case the 25 books) there is no reason for them to continue the same process farther. If, at the beginning of the school year, the teacher asked you to read and write down each book you read, you probably would have had plenty more than 25. But when a limit is set, it’s like a goal. Does an olympic sprinter continue to sprint laps after he/she has reached the finished line? No. Why? A goal was set, and they accomplished it, and no one asked for more than that.

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