Just because I went to school it did not mean I learnt much. The spelling of words eluded me, but not the art of reading. At 56 I am eloquent in the use of words but never caught up with spelling. This is why I don’t write much but talk a lot and do some reading only to find the words that I can copy in order to write. I copy them, letter by letter. It is a slow process.
Just after my school days which did not come soon enough I met up with mates that were on par with my sense of adventure, mischief, and a desperate need to taste a life unshackled by boring school assemblies, studying or needless spelling. We would rather use ‘speaking words’ by sitting on the fence at Muswellbrook’s Bridge spitting rings in the water and jingling coins in our pockets, the bravado outpacing our deeds, but only just. We were rearing to do something, something worthwhile or dangerous. It would prove to be a difficult journey to combine both. Our use of the spoken words outstripped the written ones by odds of hundred to one. The books that I grew up with were two. The book of psalms and a well worn bible. My mum swore by the bible. Telling fibs we never dared when forced by mum to swear by the bible. It was part of our family group and included mum’s sister. She was dark skinned, not married and no kids.
Of course, even at my school when letters and spelling reared its head first I somehow lost interest when the outside world with the creeks, tree climbing and catching goannas adventures became threatened by having to listen to the monotonous ranting of Miss teacher and her dripping snotty nose insisting on the importance of letter ‘c’ or ‘z’. I would so much rather cut a piece of wood into a sharp pointy stick than sit inside a class room listening to the drone of an alphabet recital. My mum wrote many notes of absence and sickies, there were many colds. She was often cranky when finding out I had not gone to school. The days not at school equalling numbers spent sharpening sticks, throwing flat stones across the river and counting the skips. I did learn to count.
How my education became so entangled in learning how to read and yet unable to learn the art on how to spell is something that has plagued me from then on. I can read the word ‘because’, but ask me how to spell it and I can’t. I can only write the word ‘because’, if I am lucky to find it while reading something containing that word and then copy it. Fortunately, the bible and the book of psalms had many words I could copy, including ‘because’.
(to be continued)