Monday, 16 March 2015
When I was a Daffodil
Jane and me were both daffodils. We were eight or nine and her mother had heard about a new Girl Guide troop starting in Monaleen. Jane said it would be fun and talked me into it. Not that I needed much talking into; where she went I went, and where I went she went. So the both of us ended up daffodils. My sister was a poppy.
I loved the badge, the yellow daffodil embroidered on a black background. The yellowness reflected the sunshine, and looked very cheerful. I had always loved yellow. Actually I’m not sure if yellow was truly my favourite colour. In primary school, in junior infants I had belonged to the yellow group; each pupil chose a colour, and was subsequently divided into a group with other pupils who had also chosen that same colour. I had always wondered if I preferred yellow to all the other colours, maybe I was more a pink type of girl or even orange. I wasn’t sure of much when I was four. Yellow had been painted on the round part of the first wooden bat the teacher showed me, that first day at school. She was holding lots more in her other hand getting ready to show me them one by one so I could choose, but I was painfully shy and chose that very first one to be rid of her staring eyes. And so yellow became my favourite colour, leaving me wondering if the yellow was actually a choice or a coincidence.
On warm summer evenings we walked to our troop meetings, in wintertime our mothers would take turns driving us. We liked walking through the fields though, but the last part wasn’t so great. The last part was a street with council houses and we had to pass children who were rough. They called us names and taunted us when we ran past them with one hand holding our ties down to stop them hitting us in the face, and the other on our berets as we tried to keep them in the epaulettes on our shoulders so we didn’t lose them. We pretended not to hear them. Those kids were dressed in jumpers and torn jeans. They had snotty noses and tangled hair. They called us posh. They didn’t only call us posh, they used other words too, words to describe the word posh but we weren’t allowed to say those words.
Sometimes a farmer would shout at us to keep out of his fields. He said the field had a bull in it, but there were only cows. Other times he said the field was poisoned. We didn’t think that poison would pass through the soles of our shoes and get us. Walking around the fields meant at least two more miles, so we chanced it. Once he followed us. At first we tried to lose him by pretending we didn’t see him behind us, and walked straight past the bungalows on the hill where we lived. But he stayed on our trail, and his persistence frightened us. So eventually we went home. He talked with my mother, and with Jane’s mother after that. And our mothers told us why we weren’t allowed in the fields. We still weren’t very impressed with the reasons given, and kept taking the forbidden route as we had always done before, but now we ran like criminals dressed in posh Girl Guide uniforms.
* This is the third post in Childhood Memories
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Framed miniature mounted in a wooden frame: 100 euros excluding postage and packing
Boxed miniature: 75 euros excluding postage and packing
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