April 24th, 2009

countrygirl

Village School(s)




I think I first met Miss Read when my mother borrowed her books from the library. Years later I acquired a number of first editions but got rid of them in one of my purges. The problem was that the later books were dull and I’d forgotten how interesting the first ones are. Recently I picked up a bundle of the latest paperback reprints and just yesterday I felt like a re-read. When I first read the books, the social history aspect of them passed me by completely; they were just pleasant country stories. Now I see how uncosy they actually are: some children are ill treated, sanitation is poor, expectations low, an elderly spinster teacher faces a bleak future. Miss Read had forty children in her school, whereas I went to a school with more than forty children in each class. My late husband, though, went to a school just like the one at Fairacre. Poor little boy, he was so much cleverer than all the other children that he had to be in a special class all on his own. His mother, uncle and grandfather all attended the same school. Collapse )