Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Blame This on Aunt Katherine

I was tucked into bed last night all comfy and cozy and slightly drowsy. You know that feeling -- when you're teetering just on the very edge of falling asleep. Love it.

It's one of those times that my thoughts meander in the darndest directions. Last night my musings took a trip back in time to my high school days. I thought about how my Aunt Katherine, who was also my high school english teacher, had given our class an unthinkable assignment: to journal every single day for a semester. She gave us each an empty spiral notebook and asked us to write a paragraph or two on any subject of our choosing each day.

We all were indignant. Imagine that. To write something _every_single_day. What a mean teacher! How ruthless! And the worst thing of all? We even had to WRITE SOMETHING ON THE WEEKENDS. Saturday AND Sunday!

She told us that she would collect our notebooks every Friday and promised us that she wouldn't make any corrections on our grammar or sentence structure or even spelling.

"It's just an exercise in routinely recording your thoughts or things that happen to you every day that may otherwise seem unimportant. But when you look back and read your journals later in life, these notebooks will tell you a great deal about yourselves. You get credit for this assignment simply by completing it. Just write." she said.

Well. THAT's a dumb assignment, I thought. BICJ was alive and well even when I was sixteen.

But since I was a good student and more importantly, the teacher's niece and no dummy -- I knew that if I were disrespectful or goofed off she would let my parents know asap -- I dutifully scribbled away and filled page after page of the lined paper in my notebook. Every night before bed, I would sprawl belly down on the orange shag carpeting in my bedroom (Hey. Don't judge me here. It was the '70s.) and write. And every night I would grumble to myself about the unfairness of it all. Gee. I could be doing all sorts of other stuff instead of this dumb stupid assignment..

I wrote about the way night time sounds would drift in through my open bedroom window. I wrote about my mosquito bites. I described the sounds that our herd of cows made when they chewed their cud. I wrote about my dislike of that assignment. I described the floral pattern in the fabric of my favorite blouse. I critiqued my sisters' hair styles.

When the end of the semester arrived, I tossed my completed journal onto the stack on Aunt Katherine's desk and thought about how glad I was not to have to do anything like that ever again. Because writing about stupid stuff in my life every day was just....well, stupid.

So last night I found myself chuckling when I realized that I had learned two things from my late night musings inspired by Aunt Katherine:
  • I'm a slow learner. It only took forty years or so for me to realize that writing something every single day is actually kind of fun. And...
  • This blog is all Aunt Katherine's fault. 


Heda said...

Thank you, Aunt Katherine.

Amy Junod said...

Awe, I love this.

Anita Rowe Stafford said...

God bless Aunt Katherine.

Angana said...

Ditto what Heda and Anita said!

Laura said...

This is awesome. Thank you, Aunt Katherine.