Monday, May 11, 2009

The quote below from Agatha Christie brings back memories my cousin Kora shared on her early childhood. Her father was a soldier in WW1. Her mother became a nurse and went to nurse the wounded during the war taking her toddler daughter with her. Kora shared memories of  being taken to the pyramids, of young boys swinging giant chords attached to fans which moved all day(I think she was barely three at the time)of dust and heat and sounds and smells exotic and wonderful and terrible when you remember looking back over so many years. My cousin went on to become a well known New Zealand music teacher, a ballroom dance instructor, a lover of the arts, a supporter of UNICEF and an MBE. I wonder how much those early years shaped the person she was to become.

On spring days like this, when the sky is blue and the sun shines warmly, and all one wants to do is be outdoors, I remember this lovely passage from Agathie Christie's memoir, and I smile because I can't agree more. And it makes my heart sing with gratitude to the Lord that He led my family into a delightful, free, and natural learning life at home.

 "Having arrived on the mound at half past six, a halt is called for breakfast at eight-thirty. We eat hard-boiled eggs and flaps of Arab bread, and Michel (the chauffeur) produces hot tea, which we drink from enamel mugs, sitting on top of the mound, the sun just pleasantly warm, and the morning shadows making the landscape incredibly lovely, with the blue Turkish hills to the north, and all around tiny springing flowers of scarlet and yellow. The air is wonderfully sweet. It is one of those moments when it is good to be alive. The foremen are grinning happily; small children driving cows come and gaze at us shyly. They are dressed in incredible rags, their teeth gleam white as they smile. I think to myself how happy they look and what a pleasant life it is; like the fairy stories of old, wandering about over the hills herding cattle, sometimes sitting and singing.

 "At this time of day the so-called fortunate children in European lands are setting out for the crowded classroom, going in out of the soft air, sitting on benches or at desks, toiling over letters of the alphabet, listening to a teacher, writing with cramped fingers. I wonder to myself whether, one day a hundred years or so ahead, we shall say in shocked accents, 'In those days they actually made poor little children go to school, sitting inside buildings at desks for hours a day! Isn't it terrible to think of! Little children!'"

~Agatha Christie in Come, Tell Me How You Live

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