Early memory I am walking to school a first grader at St Patrick’s in Lowell MA and my six-year older sister walked me over that rickety wooden bridge with some gaps in the planks where you could look through to the dark swirling whirlpooling canal water below.
Occasionally a young man who may have been trying to impress my sister would terrorize me pretending to be Count Dracula until one day I pulled a crucifix from the bedroom wall hid it in my pocket and fixed his wagon the little punk.
Even at age seven I was beginning to know the true measure of a man so far as I could see peckerheads abounded but then I hadn’t gotten out much only the walk to school to sit in a classroom and observe my fellow students especially a little girlie with a Dutch bob haircut I was eager to impress her during my favorite time of day recess.
Our teachers the nuns could be quite imposing definitely no-nonsense types in their long black robes honestly, I don’t remember too much learning from my first school experiences having put up too much of a fuss about kindergarten my Mom never sent me and I felt nervous and anxious and I checked myself out often attention deficit well maybe or maybe I’m just not into what you are selling here. I do remember the blue examination booklets and practicing the Palmer method of writing.
I found joy here and there but mostly I was scared shitless which is fine and correct to be so now and then.
Much later in life I made a few steps toward crossing that bridge and taking measure when I discovered the interesting and plain as the nose on your face methods and ideas of Bronson Alcott in summary the idea that children have knowledge and the teacher draws that out that is the essence of learning or better yet: Education http://www.alcott.net/cgi-bin/home/education.html
Naturally he was branded a radical had his supporters though they were few but still he is a very interesting character worth re examining maybe after we discard some of the already mountain of words written about him and his transcendental connection lets parse those and what we are left with is pure simplicity.
Anyway I digress.
Soundtrack: Bridge Over Troubled Water