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Friday, 24 August 2012

Mrs Gurney

Arriving early before school -
an hour or so sometimes
to dodge the barricade
and its related ambush -
my heart would sink... the sight
of the familiar buggy - slight-
ly grubby - blocking my way in.
Mrs Gurney come to say
why she is/is not
sleeping with her husband
at this time. And either way
it will be down to Pip. His fault -
and ergo, my responsibility 
to put the matter right!
Occasionally though,
she's there with a complaint.

The art class yesterday...
She's stressed about the patterns
Pip took home - based, he said,
on Chinese characters.
I sends 'im 'ere fer you 
ter teach 'im English, not Chinese!
she fumes - and tears a sheet in two.

Pip soaked in the big storm,
arriving home the water
running from 'is legs! -
he having played for half an hour
at handstans in the puddles.
My job to see he gets home dry -
not just to get him home!

Then when the news got round
that come September I would take
an A-stream class, she baked a cake
to celebrate what she called
my promotion. Iced, and with the words:
With love from Pip and Mrs Gurney

Written for Victoria Slotto's Meeting the Bar : Writing Characters at dVerse Poets


John (@bookdreamer) said...

I can remember parents like that when I taught!

jane.healy said...

You know where you stand with the Mrs Gurneys of the world!

Well told.

The Elephant's Child said...

With the words 'and good riddance' implicit?
Another image (or really series of them) I can see all too well. Thank you Dave.

Brian Miller said...

haha oh yeah...they gave you some fun memories though....always got a complaint or expectation but ready to celebrate your promotion...smiles.

Heaven said...

You are a good listener ~ Enjoyed the snapshot of Pip and Mrs. Gurney ~

hyperCRYPTICal said...

Hah, the Mrs Gurney's of the world usually have a good heart...even if they expect miracles from you!

Fine portrait of her affection for Pip and indeed (so it seems) for you.

Anna :o]

manicddaily said...

Very well told - you have a way of being so succinct and vivid with these, and also to use a wonderfully conversational tone. k .

Rachna Chhabria said...

Very well told.

Carl said...

Another great portrait told in a way that lets us glimpse both sides of the situation. I could read your stuff all day long.


Claudia said...

oh i think there's a mrs. gurney with their kids in every school around the world...made me smile..well painted - ha

Poet Laundry said...

Ha! Funny stuff--and love the irony. Nice write!

hedgewitch said...

This is a bit on the gritty as well as humorous side, David. But what a wonderfully vivid character study, and sort of 'day in the life' quality it has. Loved it.

Daydreamertoo said...

The world needs more Mrs Gurneys who don't beat about the bush and tell it like it is.. maybe! LOL
I had an aunt we used to not really look forward to her visits because once she got started with the chatting, there really was no stopping her. LOL
Thanks for the chuckle Dave.

Laurie Kolp said...

Quite some characters you've described here.

Bodhirose said...

What a great characterization...loved Mrs. Gurney's accent...but she made me cringe too.

Victoria said...

What an interesting character you've painted for us, and in such a way that I can visualize her. You, as a teacher, and I, as a nurse, do have the stories to tell, don't we. The benefit of being a bit seasoned in life, I suppose. Also, loved the dialect. That is so hard to pull off and you did it flawlessly.

kaykuala said...

A Mrs Gurney can be a blessing most certainly. It helps determine certain directions though it may work up some nerves. At least things move! Nice write Dave!


Beachanny said...

Wonderful characterization - and although I don't know her I could see and even better hear her in your words. The strain of being responsible for others' children is implied throughout! Wonderfully wrought!

Dulcina said...

Some of my pupils' parents came to my mind when reading your words.
"I sends 'im 'ere fer you
ter teach 'im English, not Chinese!"
, hehehe.
You just state the facts, no criticism; facts speak by themselves.
My daughter told me once: "Why parents don't have to pass an exam before having children?"
Fine piece, Dave, adorned with an iced cake; couldn't be warm, of course, coming from Mrs. Gurney.

Dave King said...

There's always one. Makes life interesting. Thanks for the comment.

So true. I had withdrawal symptoms the following year!

The Elephant's Child
Implicit in my early confrontations with her, but I grew (and maybe I did!) to see another side.

I must confess here and now... I didnt eat any of the cake.

Thanks for saying this - though in all honesty, I'm not quite sure where it came from, or if it's deserved! Much appreciated, though.

Strange lady, but I do agree with all your remarks. Thanks.

Thanks so much. I do really appreciate these comments.

Thank you for saying so.

Dave King said...

Thank you so much for these kind words. Much appreciated.

I think so too. Thanks for saying this.

Poet Laundry
Hi, welcome to the blog, and much thanks for your contribution.

Yup, Mrs Gurney was a bit on the gritty side - until you got to know her.

I know whay you mean, although I do seem to have met rather a lot of Mrs Gurneys during my years of teaching.

Amazing character. Difficult to really do her justice.

Yes, she was very cringe-making. As for instance when I tried to explain that taking the A-stream was not a promotion, and I wouldn't get a pay rise for it. And if anything, it ought to be the other way around! She really took the head to task and told him what she thought of him.

And what a lovely comment. Thank you so much for it. Yes, as teacher and nurse, I'm sure we could swop many a good tale!

Indeed, Hank, you are right. Things always moved when Mrs Gurney came upon the scene!

Hi, good to have your comments. Thank you so much for them. I particularly appreciated the thought about being responsible for other people's children... how far should you do what you would do as opposed to what you think they would want done? A constant problem.

Thanks for this. I enjoyed reflecting on your daughter's query, it's a suggestion I have heard raised in many a staff room. As I mentioned above, difficult to think sometimes that "we" know better than the parent.

Ygraine said...

'Salt of the Earth' the Mrs Gurney's of this World!!
With them, there is no conniving, lying, pretence or back-biting.
Couldn't they teach the rest of society a thing or two? Hehehe:D