Thursday, April 12, 2012

Things I Used to Believe

Here are some of my beliefs from when I was a small child:

Italian turns into English when written down.
It was the only foreign language I had ever heard and I was mystified by it. "How do they write it down?" I asked my mother. "The same way as we do," she replied. She meant using the same letters. I understood her to mean that, once written down, I would be able to understand it. Written Italian proved a deep disappointment to me.

There is a bear at the bottom of the garden.
This has never been disproved to my satisfaction and that's all I'm prepared to say on the matter. It was a huge, scary bear (probably a grizzly, at least). I refused to go down to the bottom of the garden on my own, in a sensible act of self-preservation.

The spread for bread that is made with fruit is written "gam".
I was both shocked and hideously embarrassed when I discovered, age five, that this was not the case. I remember struggling with this spelling for what seemed like hours whilst writing my first novel The Fary and the Todstool. (Yes, I still have it, of course, all eight tiny pages of it. It has a happy ending, in case you were worried).

A Ren and a Wern are two different kinds of birds.
I heard people talking about a bird called a Ren. I saw a kind of bird written down which was spelled Wren, which even at the age of five I knew must be a spelling mistake, and one that I was never going to make.

It's fine to trail your feet along the ground when being pushed in a pushchair.
One of my earliest memories, this. I thought it was fine and a generally fun thing to do. Grown-ups disagreed, and told me so, frequently. But I knew that I was right, and took the considered decision to continue to do it in the face of all opposition.

"A pair of compasses" are two of those round things that tell you where the North is.
My most embarrassing moment as a child came about when the Headmistress of my primary school, whose name was Miss Gregory, asked me to pass her a pair of compasses, and then laughed at me when I said I didn't have one, let alone two. "I'm FIVE YEARS OLD," I thought. "Am I supposed to know EVERYTHING?"


Anonymous Shooting Parrots said...

I remember asking my mum if it was true that our church was Church of England. Yes she said.

'You mean it's the Church of England?'

I grew up thinking St Mark's was rather grander than it really is.

10:22 pm  
Blogger Yorkshire Pudding said...

A lovely post that reminds me of some of my own childhood fears and flawed suppositions.

10:26 am  
Anonymous Michael Communistson said...

As a small child I remember asking my big sister (now eminent blogger) what exactly the difference was between a yot and the evidently similar vessel I kept reading about, a yacht.

12:02 pm  
Anonymous Oliver said...

Once the Communist, in a weird and uncharacteristic fit of admitting that the major world religions exist, told me the story of Moses. I believed for ages that Moses was my direct and traceable ancestor. (I suppose that's kind of like the Cohenim).

Also, the Eeeejipt in that story and the country spelled Egypt were clearly not the same place.

I also remember that, owing to my upbringing, primary school was the first time I encountered such oddities as prayers and hymns. I wanted to know who this "God" guy was that we kept talking to, and because I was four my mental picture was of one of the puppets from Sesame street. I genuinely believed that was what God looked like.

It's no more illogical than large-beard-in-sky, or, for that matter, blonde-haired-surfer-Jesus.

6:40 pm  
Anonymous julie paradox said...

You told us about the Fary and the Todstool. She couldn't go out shopping so she ordered things (even more dated than the Elephant and the Bad Baby). Which somehow led to her going out, but that was okay ;-)

10:45 pm  

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