If you ever want to be reminded how old you, ask a six year old.
Anyone over 20 is like an unearthed fossil to them. And when you are nigh on 60, they look at you through a whole new set of eyes.
Especially lately. Book Week has brought out a fascination for all things historic and that means me, according to our Year one-er.
I feel sure if I ever mentioned drinking warm milk at morning tea and writing on a slate (interestingly, the same size as an ipad) at any other time, she would yawn and run off to hang upside down on the monkey bars. But when this is a point of discussion in class, suddenly the light is shining hard in your eyes.
And so it was that a fascinated six year old asked me to write notes about my memories of school, so that she could share these with her teacher, who (although also old -- aka possibly in her 20s) did not remember those days when a bus ride to school (I mean who catches buses to school?) cost threepence and two shillings bought a pie, a bun, a razz iceblock, a drink and a little white bag filled with chocolate bullets.
I wanted to please her, so I told her about feet and inches, pounds and ounces, shillings and sixpences. I told her about the teacher hitting us with a blackboard ruler and the whistle of the cane as the principal brought it down hard across the naughty boy's hands.
I told her about burning paper from the paper bin in incinerators and the pig man coming to school every day to collect the food scraps. I told her that I grew up before the invention of plastic and glad wrap and before material was stretchy. I told her that I vowed never to wear a t-shirt. This was just some sort of short-lived phase that would pass. I told her that black was only ever a night time colour.
My husband told her about mixing the ink in the ink wells (that had finished by the time I had started school). I talked about doing embroidery samplers, about copy books and eating oranges at sporting matches. I told her about the thrill of ringing the school bell.
And as I talked to this modern little girl, I realised that maybe there have been more than a few changes.
- Linda Muller