In the midst of this, on Wednesday I found myself stuck in the junior library waiting for my daughter to finish ballet because the finish time had arbitrarily changed that day, which was kind of annoying because I had torn through early peak hour traffic to get there on time because she was unwell.
I sat on the tiny little plastic chair and picked up a book from the nearest shelf.
The Secret Garden.
Given to the school by Judith Bruns, in 1990. That was a coincidence as Miss Bruns, with her horizontal shelf bosum, was my Year 7 teacher. A confirmed spinster, with very few people skills but a wonderfully kind heart.
I read the first chapter while I was waiting. You remember, it begins with the description of Mary Lennox as yellow skinned and pinch faced, and selfish and egotistical.
It is a traumatic start to a children's book: a cholera epidemic breaks out in India, where Mary is living, her parents die, and those servants who are not struck down flee the house. Mary is forgotten and left abandoned for days on end. She wanders the house in a dreamlike state, encounters snakes and drinks a left over glass of wine as she is so thirsty and falls down and sleeps again.
Once discovered she is sent to live with an English clergyman, and then ultimately to Yorkshire to her uncle's windswept stony abode. And we all know what happened then.
This chapter transported me, just for that five minutes. To a world of little girls who are not loved enough, and a different era where life was cheap, short and hard. I read this book many times as a child and that horrendous first chapter had completely escaped my memory in place of the happy secret garden activities in the end of the book. Isn't it funny what your memory retains?
Reading this, trivial little things like waiting for my sparkly pink ballerina girl, and peak hour traffic, and challenges at work melted away. We are all fortunate, and largely blessed.
(Images (1) EachLittleWorld.com (2) not sure sorry (3) Flickriver.com)