Saturday, August 7, 2010

Each Little World

It has been a long, tiring, tension headache kind of week. 

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) (2) not sure sorry  (3)


Lee said...

Oh Jane, your post makes me want to read 'The Secret Garden' once again - I too haven't read it since I was a little girl; and I too had forgotten all about that rather frightening first chapter. Thank you for the trip down memory lane. Lee :)

Julie@beingRUBY said...

Dear Jane
Well I don't think I have ever read the Secret Garden.. although of course have seen many various film adaptions...

Funny I always remember the sad beginning... perhaps it is what makes the rest so wonderful..

Hope your headaches ease up.. been having the late night headaches myself... maybe the weather..

Take care dear Jane and have a fabulous weekend.. xxx Julie

count it all joy said...

What a thought provoking post, Jane. You write so beautifully, that I could just picture you sitting there in that plastic chair as your heart quietened, losing yourself into your memories. I hope you don't mind if I link this on my new blog. Meredy xo.

The House That A-M Built said...

We all need unexpected times like those to jolt us back to reality and put everything in perspective. Thanks for sharing and reminding me to take a step back and look at the big picture more often! A-M xx

Kellie Collis said...

So true... Sometimes we get caught up in the irrelevant details! xxx

Amanda (Small Acorns) said...

I think I definitely need to reread it. Amazing, I too only remember the lovely bits. Unloved children and children without parents I don't even want to contemplate.

Jacqueline @ HOME said...

Dear Jane,
The Secret Garden was my favourite book as a child and, whenever I am gardening and a robin comes and picks out worms where I have dug, I always think of it. I actually don't remember the first chapter either and, I think that I always used to block out any of the sad parts. I loved it when they found the door and the key !!
A very poignant observation, Jane and one we must remember. XXXX

Lucy said...

I love that book so much. I had the same thing of forgetting the beginning. I always thought it was because I had the tv series on VHS (!) all except the first episode which got wiped. But maybe it was something more than that.

the old boathouse said...

I had forgotten too. Reminds me of The Magician's Nephew, the first in the Narnia series, such a sad and poignant book but we focus on The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and forget all about the beginning. Lovely post, cheers Katherine

mmafi said...

It's exactly the same feel i get every time i read that book. and the pictures were just perfect for it! ^_^
thanks for sharing this. cheers to your lovely lovely page! xoxo♥

Joyti said...

What a lovely thing, to find a copy of 'The Secret Garden' from your old teacher...its a really magical book. About a year ago, I saw the story in ballet form (the Oakland Ballet Company wrote a ballet version featuring ballet students, really magical).

Mise said...

Poor Jane. I'm sorry to hear it, and glad to hear more of Miss Bruns, whose bosom I recall from a comments of yours, and you're right: our highs and lows fall within so narrow a range, and we have to give them their own importance.

pve design said...

My daughter is reading it now. I think often we need to take ourselves to a secret place to find that we are blessed with so much. There seems to be more kindness when we allow ourselves to stop and wait.

Josephine Tale Peddler said...

I too loved this book so much. I have a DVD of the movie here which I have yet to watch. It is a classic and I cannot wait until my daughter is old enough to discover its magic. xx

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