Posted tagged ‘desk cleaning days’

“I’d like to be tidy, said Hen, I try, but I guess you can’t be what you aren’t.”

October 8, 2012

I woke up to a blue sky and a sunny morning. It was late, as late as I’ve slept in for a long time, but I didn’t go to bed until close to three. It was just one of those nights when Hypnos and Morpheus were elsewhere. I didn’t mind. I kept busy.

It’s a stay home day with lots to do around the house. I have to pay the bills, a drudgery I hate, and I need to take the screens off both doors and replace them with glass as the back door stays open so Gracie can come and go, but it was really chilly last night so I eventually had to close that door. Gracie, of course, then wanted out over and over again. She rang her bells and kept ringing them until I got up. Sometimes she didn’t even go out. The rest of my chore list includes changing the litter boxes, watering the plants and doing the laundry. It’s a long list, and somewhere in there I’d like to fit in a nap, maybe I can put off the laundry.

It rained most of last night. I was lying in bed trying to fall asleep, and I could hear the rain on the roof. It wasn’t a heavy rain, but it was a steady rain.

Last night, with all that time on my hands, I went into my memory drawers and thought about when I was in grammar school. I remembered my first couple of grades when we had desks which probably dated from the opening of the school in 1910. The desks were wooden and were attached to the floor by screws through the bottoms of their metal legs. The chairs were also wooden but had metal parts which ended in circles flush with the floor and these were either screwed or nailed into the floor so they didn’t move either. We had trouble finding our books which were stored inside those desks. We had to bend over to look and sometimes we’d have to pull out a book or two before we’d find the right one. On the top of the desks were the grooves for our pencils. We didn’t use pens in the early grades. On the floor, below the chair, was where we’d put our lunch boxes. Our jackets were always in the cloak room.

When we got older, our rooms had newer desks. Those desks were also wooden, a blond wood, but the tops lifted and we could see everything kept inside but then so could the nuns. They weren’t happy with messy desks, with desks filled with crumpled papers or pointless pencils, so we had periodic clean our desk afternoons, usually late on Fridays when the nun had probably already lost our attention. One boy would slowly walk up the aisles holding the basket, and he’d stop at each pair of desks to give us time to throw everything away. The basket would get filled so the basket boy would have to take it to the basement to the trash barrels then he’d come back and do it all over again: up an aisle and stop, up an aisle and stop then back to the basement. I always wanted to be the basket person who got to leave the room, and I’d raise my hand and wiggle it in the air hoping to be chosen, but the nuns never chose me or any other girl. It was not a fit job for a  young lady.


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