I received a phone call from my very animated granddaughter. Her 4th grade class had gone on a field trip to their local museum and had learned about what education was like many years ago.
She seemed fascinated about the punishments students endured around the turn of the century and was amazed that I also had learned about dunce caps, pressing one’s nose against the chalkboard and dipping little girls pig tails into ink wells. I filled her in on the “Board of Education”. “They were mean back then, Nana”. “Not if you behaved, Madison”.
Just a little backstory, my granddaughter has not always embraced all that formal education has to offer. In fact, for a short period she took great pride in being “that difficult child” and holds the official record for the most visits to the principal’s office in one day, for several generations, on both sides of very independent and strong willed ancestors. Most parents and grandparents aspire for their offspring to make the Principal’s Honor Roll. This distinction did not qualify my eldest granddaughter for recognition.
She is tall and willowy, with big blue eyes and strawberry blond hair. A fine dusting of “angel kisses’ are sprinkled across her fine features. But don’t let her angelic appearance fool you. I have seen her make grown men cry with just a few words and much attitude. She requested that all address her as “Mad Dog” instead of Madison. It gave her that edge needed for the second grade and the lunchroom “gross out” contest.
Madison knows how to read her crowd and after strategically placing two peas up her nose quickly noted her attempt was judged weak by her elementary lunch audience. But she wasn’t done yet. Expelling the produce back into her lunch tray and then eating the projectiles with immense satisfaction earned the respect of every boy at the table and a trip to the principal’s office. Nana was not amused with her efforts. Well, at least not to her face. Secretly, I was pretty impressed.
As we continued our conversation I realized that my precious granddaughter was growing up. We began discussing the Laura Ingalls Wilder book series and I teared up a little. I was able to share some of my childhood with my beautiful, confident, independent grandchild. And in turn she shared some of her childhood with me. Now I just need to find those books.