Big New School

Friday, March 26, 2010

I am a periodic purger. Too much "stuff" makes me nervous. If I look at a closet, and don't know for sure what is in there, I feel anxious. Unsettled. But I have to be in the right mood to clean out that closet. I have to be ready to explore those unsettled feelings. It's complicated.

The point is, I was cleaning out a closet the other day, and I discovered a little box labeled, “Courtney’s Childhood Books.”

Treasures! I couldn’t wait to open it. So many walks down memory lane. The full length version of Alice in Wonderland, a Mickey Mouse Club record (a record!), and Big New School. I saw that little book and my heart went pitter pat. It was an absolute favorite. The colorful cover, with the red school building, the horse and buggy, the sunny day - perfection. I opened it, and found the inscription in Grandmother’s handwriting. To me, from them, on Valentine’s Day, 1983. I was five.

I couldn’t wait to share it with Big Guy. I flipped through the pages and gushed, “Look! I’ve got something new for us to read at nap time. This was mine when I was a little girl.” He glanced at me and said, “Okay,” then he went back to playing with his brother. I was not discouraged. I knew he would love it as much as I once did.

When nap time rolled around, and it was his turn for stories, Big Guy remembered. We snuggled together, and he picked up Big New School. He said, “Cool! Let’s do dis one fiwst!” I was thrilled.

I started to read. And read. What I remembered was a lot more magical than what was unfolding on the pages before me. My mind wandered, “The pictures are sweet, but wait - was this really how the story went? I don’t remember the first school getting old and a new school being built! I just remember the charming old school, and the simple country scenes. What is this?”

I continued to read, but I worried about imposing this disappointing book on my child. I scolded myself for forcing my preferences onto him, and I wondered about the state of my obviously flawed memory.

I read on. The new school was completed, and the townsfolk decided to use the old school for parties and meetings. Really? What a waste. What a bubble burst. I felt terrible.

Then Big Guy said, “Read it again!”

My heart swelled. I kissed his head, and did exactly that. It was better the second time.

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One Response to “Big New School”

  1. Dear Courtney,

    I so enjoy your blogs. I feel I know you and your family--a little part of your lives. You write so well-a little free lancing?