SCBWI Canada East Blog

February 27, 2012

4:13 AM 6
Funny how you probably had 2345 great things happen every week while growing up, yet it's only the bad stuff that remains etched in your mind. I was not six yet, not till the Winter, and had come in to my Grade 1 class from a freezing Autumn  recess. I had forgotten to "GO" before class.
I put up my hand, trying to get my teachers attention, but she never called on me. In those days, you had to have permission to speak, let alone get up and leave the room.  So..... it happened. I spent the rest of the morning hoping no one would notice. At lunch time I threw my coat, mitts and hat on and just before I could make a clean (though dampish) get away towards home, the teacher called me over to my desk. As I remember, she was very nice about it, even though I denied any knowledge of how "that" got there or what "that" even was, and insisted it wasn't of my doing. I walked the 5 blocks home with a note for my Mother pinned to my jacket.

Yes, that is an ink bottle and dip pen on my desk! I can hardly believe it myself but when I started this sketch, I could picture the desks in our school. Beautiful hard wood, with Ink wells carved into the tops of the desk, chairs attached to the scrolled cast Iron base and legs, the seat that tilted up and down, like in the movie theatre.  (The teacher would hand out blotter paper every morning, you had to make the 1 sheet last all day:)


  1. I look at this illustration and can't help but laugh and cringe at the same time! I can't say I shared the same experience, however I can clearly remember that feeling of desparation waiting, and waiting for the teacher to notice the flailing hand...and crossed legs :)

  2. I think that drawing should be framed - I love your loose sketches!! Thanks Chris, for dredging up long buried memories from the "Unenlightenment Period":-) I remember all too well those desks with the ink wells although we had moved on to fountain pens by that point in history. I loved my peacock blue ink! Do you by any chance remember ruling pens? Wish I could contribute to this one but am headed out of town, maybe later?

  3. Thanks Chrissie and Sue.
    Sue I don't remember "ruling pens", what were they, perhaps I know of them by another name.
    I think we were finally allowed to bring in fountain pens, perhaps around 3rd or 4th grade. Until then, I guess the powers that be, teachers and school board, thought it important that one struggle to master the art of good penmanship, without the "aid" of a HIGH TECH tool:) Dipping, blobbing ink, having to start over again, pink blotter paper to finish up the job. Talk about the "Unenlightenment Period", my class was beside the principals office, with a passthrough door on one wall. The door allowed for any loud noises from his office to be heard in our class. You always knew when some poor soul was in getting the strap. You could hear the actual "smack" and the crying. Yikes!!!

  4. My youngest son (7) gets such a kick out of this illo. Every time he sees it he makes me "say the sounds" so I have to pretend I'm her (you) and act out the scene as it may or may not have happened. Haha. Entertaining.

  5. Do you make ALL the sounds? haha
    I love the "SAY the sounds" so cute, though a grown up boy of 7 would never want to hear that what he says is cute:)