Friday, July 16, 2010
Too Much for a Little Mind
When I was a little girl, my father was very intent that I get a good education, not just K-12 and college, he wanted me to be "well rounded". As a young child, he would spend hours reading to me, teaching me to play chess, teaching me about our family and our proud Scottish heritage. He had a large collection of books on Confederate history and he shared his knowledge of the great campaigns with me. He spoke French as second language. As he worked in our back yard where, he raised Azaleas and bred Camellias, even at an early age I had watched him graft many cuttings onto stock Carmelia bushes in order to produce new colors.
He was always very proud of me. When I started school, I had a head full of knowledge - a little jumbled, but chocked full. In a child's mind, normal is what you are used to. In my mind, everyone knew a red shirt symbolized Wade Hampton's campaign, that a castle wasn't a home for Cinderella, but a strategic chess move involving your King and your rook, that a sport is a new unique Camelia color not basketball or football, and the answer to any question you wanted to avoid was "cum se cum sa". As you can imagine, life in kindergarten was bit confusing for me.
But thankfully, "Miss" Nancy, my teacher knew my father very well and appreciated my tutelage. When I threw out one of my random bits of wisdom, she would just include it in the discussion. Therefore none of my peers ever looked at me with this "Where in the world did she come from?" countenance. Our little class of five year olds just rocked along.
That was until one Friday when "Miss" Nancy started asking us geography questions. "What states are our good neighbors?" My friend Joey raised his hand and was called upon, "North Carolina and Georgia. My Aunt Carol lives in Georgia." I raised my hand, and "Miss" Nancy called on me, "Yes?" "But "Miss" Nancy, North Carolina is not a good neighbor." Puzzled, she looked at me. "Why do you say that?" "Because, they were almost the last to join South Carolina when we fought the Yankees." "Are you sure?" "Yes, mam." Then I stood up and started singing my song:
"First gallant South Carolina Nobly made the stand,
Then came Alabama, Who took her by the hand.
Next quickly Mississippi, Georgia and Florida
All raised on high the Bonnie Blue Flag
bears a single star
Ye men of valor, gather round
The banner of the right;
Texas and fair Louisiana
Join us in the fight.
Now rally round the Bonnie Blue Flag
That bears a single star.-
-And here's to old Virginia--
The Old Dominion State--
Who with the young Confederacy
At length has linked her fate;
Impelled by her example,
Now other states prepare
To hoist on high the Bonnie Blue Flag
That bears a single star.--
Then cheer, boys, cheer;
Raise the joyous shout,
For Arkansas and North Carolina
Now have both gone out;
And let another rousing cheer
Now have both gone out
And let another rousing cheer
For Tennessee be given,
The single star of the Bonnie Blue Flag
Has grown to be eleven.-"
When I finished I looked at her. "My Daddy taught me that so I would always keep the states in order. He said it is important to remember who our friends are." All "Miss" Nancy could say was, "Oh my." Then one of my friends asked, "Can we sing that song?" Another chimed in, "Why were we fighting?" From the back, a little girl asked, "Who was Bonnie?" I turned to my classmates. "We were fighting the Yankees because they wanted to come tell us what we could do in our own backyard. And, Bonnie wasn't a little girl. It's a blue color. That was our flag. It was blue with a star in the middle." Then Joey piped up,"Who are the Yankees?" By this time "Miss" Nancy took control of the melee.
"Class, this all happened a long time ago." "Miss" Nancy said as she tried to briefly explain. Then she looked over at me with this, "Sweet heart, I know you can't help it, but please don't ever do that again" look. I didn't say a word but I knew I was right.
That night I told my father all about what happened. He just laughed. "It's not funny." I said. "Joey didn't even know what a Yankee was." My mother looked at him. "Yes, I am well aware of this. Nancy called this afternoon. Apparently she had some difficulty explaining to her class of pre-schoolers that the state of North Carolina is in fact a good neighbor." My father just looked at me. "Come on it's time for bed. Tonight I'm going to tell you all about the Trilateral Commission."