Posted tagged ‘cloakroom’

“He that passeth a winter’s day, escapeth an enemy.”

January 19, 2016

Winter is here. Yesterday was freezing. Last night the wind never stopped. It surrounded me and was all I could hear as I was falling asleep. I wasn’t cold but I still snuggled under the covers as if I needed to keep the wind at bay. Gracie circled several times then plopped herself beside me. Fern followed suit but without the circling and on my other side. Gracie was the quickest to fall asleep. I heard her snoring.

Walking to school in the winter was chilliest at the beginning. Walking home was chilliest at the end. Every winter’s day I was bundled in a vast array of garments. Starting from inside out, I wore pink long underwear which came to my knees and a tee shirt under my blouse. My mother demanded we add a sweater, usually blue to match our uniforms, because our old classrooms had such high ceilings they were difficult to keep toasty. She figured we needed that bit of extra warmth. Knee socks came up high enough that only a small spot on each leg got cold. My jacket was thick and had a zipper. My mittens and hat were wool.

I remember at the end of the day being called row by row to the cloakroom so we could get our coats and stuff. We were always in rows: we sat in rows and we walked in rows usually 2 by 2 to go in or out of the school and to go to the bathrooms in the basement. If we needed to go during the day, we always asked for permission to go to the basement. Nobody ever called them the lavs or the bathrooms. That was one of the peculiarities of my old school. The cloak rooms were another.

Going home in the afternoon, I was never dressed as warmly as I had been in the morning. All my mother’s efforts to keep me warm were mostly undone. Sometimes I couldn’t get the zipper parts to join together so I left my jacket opened. I didn’t really like hats so mine was stashed in one of my pockets. My mother was never pleased.

“This morning’s scene is good and fine, Long rain has not harmed the land.”

October 2, 2015

I never did get around to changing my bed, a nap got in the way. I guess I’ll have to do it today to complete my list. The only problem is I haven’t the energy and I certainly don’t have the enthusiasm. Bed changing doesn’t engender any.

The rain stopped for a bit yesterday afternoon so Gracie and I left for the dump. When we were about half-way there, the rain started again just as I suspected it would. That always happens. It rained all the rest of the day and all night. It is still raining, and there is a wind strong enough to sway the tops of all the trees. The weather forecast in the paper this morning said rain for the next three or four days.

On rainy days my first grade cloakroom was always dark. The walls were made of wood, and there wasn’t any light. When I’d walk into my classroom, all the lights seemed as bright as the sun. The only noise in the classroom was the rain beating against the windows. We spoke only in whispers. I can’t explain why, but it was as if the rain had muted our voices. I was always drawn to the rain on the windows. I’d follow a drop all the way down until it got smaller and smaller and finally disappeared. The nun and my classmates were background murmurings to the rain. That was the year I watched the rain.

My fourth grade classroom was on the second floor. The long windows looked out only to the sky. I was in the last seat in the first row. I had a panoramic view of the whole room but couldn’t see the windows behind me. That was the year I heard the rain.

In the eight grade, my classroom was on the second floor of the new school. My seat was right beside the windows. I could see the whole school yard and the road beside it. I could hear even the smallest drops of rain hit the windows. I could look out and see the rain falling sideways in sheets blown by the wind. Other times the rain fell straight down in a thunderous deluge. The misty rain fell gently, quietly. That was the year I could see and hear the rain.