In my past, there was a woman. She was old, I was young, she was feared, and I was dumb.
I was five then and at my basic level of education. We never called it kindergarten, although, that was what it was. It was basically a school for little ones and little I was then. Beside that institution was a house where an old lady lived. She was called Granny although I never knew why. I wanted to find out her actual name as I knew she wasn’t my granny and I wondered if I was stepping over any boundaries by calling her Granny, even though there was no relation between me or her that I knew of. I thought perhaps she someone else’s granny and everyone just followed suit and decide to take liberties and call her granny as well; children tended to do that. I thought my self well mannered by not calling her at all. I never heard any name other than granny and my granny she was not. Looking back though, I think, everyone called her granny, even the teachers.
I feared her greatly and I was not alone in my fears in fact, thanks to my peers, my fears, started. At the school I went to, we wore uniforms of blue tunics ad brown khaki suits. Simple little outfits and were it not for those outfits spread across her clothes line, my fears would have had no base. She always had uniforms on her line, swaying in the breeze, in her yard which was right beside the school. I had originally thought, that her name sake caused her to have those clothes on the line swaying in the breeze, but I never saw the children. I never saw them enter, or leave. And neither did any of my peers. Which lead us to draw this one conclusion. She cooks children, and hangs their clothes to dry.
That scared a majority of us and I don’t what sense of false bravery stirred in the little minds of my companions but, for some reason they took it upon themselves to throw stones at her house. The set up of the school was on a little slope overlooking her yard, so it was relatively easy for us to throw stones, at the evil cannibal granny. As said before, I thought myself well mannered and took it upon myself not to call her, therefore, she was avoided by me like the plague. As a child I figured that those who didn’t stay out of her way suffered, while looking on the clothes line to confirm my hypothesis.
She came over the school a few times, and I think one of those times was to catch a stone thrower. I’m not sure if that was the case, but I’m sure in my vaguest memories there was an angry elderly lady with a firm grip on a young boy, and crying- fear and crying. We feared her so and the adults did nothing to quell our fears. Had they just opened their mouths it would have been okay. To be honest though, the solution was obvious.
I remember going home one day with my mother, ready to have a rousing discussion about the wicked granny next door, only to be shot down with the remark ” She washes the uniforms for the school.“. The confusion was apparently evident on my face, for my mother further explained the situation to me. The age of three to five is where one can can have “accidents” and not be chastised for it. Simply put, when we had accidents the school changed us in new clothes, washed our clothes, and put them to dry. Granny, had a clothes line. The school, did not.
The day I found out my world was enlightened. When your fears are quelled, there is this sense of relief. Have you ever had your fears quelled? It is a heavenly feeling I tell you. There is light and laughter and understanding(I have recently quelled my fears about another matter, a lovely feeling really).She did not seem like a menacing old woman any more, just a kind lady, who worked for the school and gets reasonably angry when her house is being pelted by stones of all sorts. Granny was now,‘cool’. Coolness however, didn’t stop a few of them from throwing stones and my fears being quelled changed the view I had of my fellow young ones from bravery to dislike, strong dislike. My pity had moved from them to another. Poor Granny.
I pass my old school a lot as of late. That memory plays well in my mind and I’m glad for it. It brings a smile to my face every time it does. I always happen to pass Granny’s house as well. A few days ago, I had passed the house. The line was still there, but school was on break so I didn’t know whether or not they still used her line for drying clothes. Maybe I’ll pass her house on a school day,if the uniforms are flowing in the breeze, I’ll know.