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Donna's Journal
Juggling the Jolly  and Joyless With a Journal

Over the years I've kept up a board lettered with the words, “Be Kind, Everyone You Meet is Fighting a Hard Battle.”  When I first saw this phrase, it made me stop and think. Of course, life is like that isn't it?  Living is no  different for others than it is for me.  Could be, the ones fighting the hardest are the persons who have the most unhappy behavior?

Ending this year of 2003 has to be some sort of an accomplishment. As much as one likes to think about the triumphs there has to be a stopping place to list things to leave egg on our face, so to speak. This record has to be of that.

My granddaughter's class planned a field trip to Perry, Oklahoma where an old school house was preserved in good condition. The children were to dress in period clothes of 1910. A living history lesson was in store for them.

We looked up the style on the computer where we found a dress for a nine-year-old girl. The garb was simple. There was a pinafore over a puffed sleeve bouse. Grosgrain ribbon in close layers went around the skirt and the top of it. This illustration showed a knee length skirt. Under the skirt was a petticoat with rows of lace. The legs of the girl in the drawing were covered with black heavy looking stockings. On her feet were black patent leather shoes.

Off to Wal-Mart we go. After much deliberating and shopping we, my daughter and granddaughter, all settled on a muted grayed green and beige  tiny checked fabric. “To match my eyes,” said my granddaughter.

Her mother found the heavy black tights. The store had patent leather shoes but we decided against them because the cost for a one time use wasn't practical. Instead, we settled on a clog looking black shoe she could wear to school later. Also, my daughter found a blouse with a modest puffed sleeve and long sleeves. It was a beige color matching the beige in the green checked fabric.

I cut the pattern for the simple pinafore and worked one night until four a.m. on it. Grandchildren and household activities make it hard for me to sew during the day. The dress came out beautifully with petticoat and all. To match, we took a straw hat and added a bow of the same fabric to that.

My little granddaughter looked like a perfect example of a little girl who might have just stepped out of a Sears catalogue of the year 1910. Of course, we had to have the thing on video tape. I started the taping as she was leaving the house and my daughter took the camera with her for the actual trip.

No one told me anything about the plans as to the granddaughter volunteering to be the child selected to be disciplined for talking in class.

I watched on video tape as the old fashioned school “marm” in her long dress and a high-necked blouse grabbed my granddaughter. She drags her off to the black board to stick her nose against it in a little circle she had drawn. I should have known it was a set up demonstration when she made a joke about some boy who fainted dead away on her, once.

All I thought about was the strict discipline practiced during my childhood. Usually though, the boys experienced this.  I was livid. What was worse I couldn't speak to my daughter about the scene because they left right after the field trip for a skiing vacation  to Colorado. Stewing around the house for a number of days until they returned had cooled me down some.

At the dinner table a day after they had returned I brought it up. I told my daughter, “I am so upset with that teacher who pushed my granddaughter's nose into the black board.”

My daughter isn't one to laugh out loud but this time she did. Certainly, this wasn't the reaction I expected.

“May I ask, what is so funny?”

“Oh Mom, I hope you haven't said anything to anyone about this?”

“Well, just to your Uncle. He was so angry he wanted to hire a lawyer when he saw the film.”  I was puzzled.  “Why shouldn't I be upset?”  I asked her.

“Oh Mother, it was all a demonstration. We volunteered for acting it out. We would have been the laughing stock of the neighborhood if your complained.

“Oh good night!  I have to call your Uncle. I am so embarrassed. Why didn't anyone tell me?  Oh my! Oh my! I'm so glad I didn't say anything to anyone else.”

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