Bleak North - The Website of Author, BARRY LITHERLAND


Welcome to my blog


Here you can add some text to explain what your blog is about and a bit about you.


By litherlandb, Sep 21 2015 04:50PM

I like this little chair. It is six inches tall and is hand made. It has a finely interwoven seat and is a miniature version of expensive chairs which were manufactured at a specialist chair works. I’ve owned it for over thirty years now and, despite gradual wear and tear, it remains in pretty good condition. It has shared six different houses with us and has been permanently on display. It was given me by a child I taught in my very first school – Longridge County Primary School. I can’t remember the occasion. Perhaps it was Christmas or the end of a school year. I don’t remember.

I do remember the child who gave it to me (A.G). Even after thirty plus years I can recall her face. I think her father worked at Berry’s in Chipping although I’m not sure. I also seem to remember he had some hand in making this little item. Perhaps he made it entirely. If so I admire his skill greatly. I wonder where she is now?

Over the years of teaching – 35 of them – I’ve been given a whole range of things, shop bought, home made, tasteful and not quite so. There are very few now where I can remember the giver. I can’t even remember the school. That’s what makes this one different.

It’s different with memories. When I see a picture of a child I once taught I can immediately recall not only the physical appearance of the child but their character, the way they moved, gestures, looks. It’s most strange. Even when their names momentarily escape me I can recall each child with incredible clarity.

It’s all the more remarkable, of course, because they now vary in ages from fifty to eleven. I probably wouldn’t recognise most of them and they certainly wouldn’t recognise the aging, grey haired man as the teacher they knew.

I don’t think about teaching any more. It took me a while to settle to retirement but I’m a writer now not a head teacher. I do find recollections emerging almost spontaneously sometimes though, some sad, some happy, some painful, some funny. I hope they keep coming.

Yesterday, for no reason I can think of I remembered identical twins I taught about fifteen or twenty years ago. They weren’t the brightest lads but made up for it with an irrepressible good nature. At the end of year parents’ evening I recall meeting their parents. I explained (sensitively) that a career in the academia might not be for them. The parents understood; parents usually do. Their mother shook her head resignedly.

‘Yes,’ she explained, ‘they can’t be expected to do as well as the others. They’re identical twins. They only have half a brain each.’

Yep, I guess that explains it.

Add a comment
* Required
RSS Feed

Web feed