Monday, January 24, 2011

AND NOW HE GOES TO SCHOOL, part 3; by Ada Campbell

One of the first amazing developments we noticed was a change in Sandy's speech. He had, up to this sixth year, spoken quite a good, pure English. But now he came home saying, "Ma, I ain't got no pencil at school; can I have a pencil, huh?" I covered my surprise and let it go. After all, if he hears the right things at home, it doesn't matter what his playground talk is like.

Of course, he brought home slang in large quantities. I expected this; just the same it is startling to have your child say, "O. K., pal," when you are accustomed to "All right, mother." Yes, when a child goes to school he ceases to be a part of your generation, and becomes a member of his own.

When Sandy had been in school for about a month, I was glad to receive a note about a parent-teachers' meeting soon to be held. I had wanted to see the room where my boy spent all day, the wonderful desk he kept telling me about, and the other children I had come to know through him. I would have gone to visit the school before, but I was afraid of the teacher. It would be terrible if she found out that Sandy's mother was so foolish on the subject of Sandy! But now there was to be a meeting, and it was all right for me to go.

It was in the afternoon, after school. We met in the auditorium, and heard talks by the principal and district nurse, who turned out to be quite human persons. Then we were invited to wander about the building. In Sandy's room, beside the cluster of miniature desks, stood his teacher receiving visitors. Around the wall was hung a row of drawings--each one depicting a girl with an umbrella. It was astonishing how good most of them were. But Sandy's! What a scrawl is was. His teacher came near, and I apologized for my child's art. "Sandy certainly shows very little promise in drawing," I said to her. She smiled. "But he reads so well!" she answered. I tried not to look too pleased. But what can you do; maternity isn't a rational business, and never was. Don't you remember the mother who heard all these things about her child and pondered them in her heart?

Some parents hate to see their children growing up. But I enjoy my boy more and more as he gets older--he is much more companionable than the cute baby I used to have.