Hello kiddies. If you would like to sit in a circle on the floor six feet apart and pretend to hold hands. Let’s sing some nursery rhymes behind our masks. 1. Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater, Had a wife but couldn't keep her; He put her in a pumpkin shell Because he was white and she was black. 2. Baa, baa black sheep Have you any wool? Children! Children! We don’t sing this anymore. It’s John Doe stealing black wool. 3. Here we go round the mulberry bush, The mulberry bush, The mulberry bush. Here we go round the mulberry bush On a cold and frosty morning. It’s alright kiddies. Don’t cry. It was a black frost. 4. Hey diddle diddle, The cat and the fiddle, The cow jumped over the Stop! Stop! – What colour is the object we’re singing about? Don’t say it! We don’t use that horrible word! 5. Hickory Dickory Dock The mouse ran up the clock The clock struck one. Isn’t that typical? I bet the one struck was black. 6. Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the King’s horses and all the King’s men, Put him back together because he was a brown egg. 7. Jack and Jill went up the hill To fetch a pail of water. Jack fell down and broke his crown, And Jill said, you got your due you f**king racist. Well done, children. Now it’s time to go home to the caregivers I have allotted you. They won’t brainwash you like your parents.
As if expecting her third baby wasn’t difficult enough. It was made a thousand times more difficult now that Clifford has run off with his secretary. The two boys were under the age of five, and there was still four months to go before the arrival of the third boy. Clifford had wanted a girl. It was Lynette’s fault – the third male. It didn’t cause the dissipation of her marriage but it certainly hastened it. And now Clifford was refusing to pay for anything until “matters were cleared up”.
Thank goodness Lynette’s mother lived just around the corner. At least someone was “there” – although she drank heavily and couldn’t be trusted after seven in an evening. Still, she could help with the two boys for an hour or two in the mornings while Lynette went off to her part-time motel-cleaning job. At least it meant that there were a few pennies coming in.
And then Lynette’s mother died suddenly. Who was going to pay for the funeral? Lynette was a relative. It was her responsibility. Would the motel owner mind if she brought her two little boys along while she cleaned? The motel owner had enough on her mind without having to worry about other people’s toddlers. The answer was no.
Lynette was at the end of her tether. She walked the street with her two boys in search of some “help for the helpless”. It was not something until recently that she had ever given half a thought to. She couldn’t find the place. She stopped and asked a gentleman in the street if he knew of anywhere.
“Excuse me,” said Lynette as politely as she could muster. They got talking. That is why today Lynette is now Lady Lynette Snodgrass-Grbin, married to billionaire Lord Hector Snodgrass-Grbin, and they have five boys counting Lynette’s three, who run around the manor grounds playing hide-and-seek when they’re not at their excellent school.
Clifford recently contacted Lynette and said he was destitute. The secretary had fled. He had no job. Lynette sent him a thousand dollars and told him to stay out of her life permanently. She subsequently learned that he had taken “permanently” to mean more permanent than she had intended.
Oh! And did I forget to mention? Lady Lynette is now expecting her sixth. It’s a girl.
A change of tone… This is a fairy story to read to children at bedtime.
Once upon a time a man had three wives. The three wives were very jealous of one another. The first wife caught the second wife and put her through the mincer to make ground meat. She fed the ground meat to the third wife who died having the most terrible convulsions caused by the horrible meat.
The first wife was now the only wife left. When the husband found that she had brutally murdered the other two wives he cut her head off. Out popped a terrible venomous snake from her neck. The snake bit the husband and he died of snake poison.
Now there were four dead people. The snake escaped and has been seen only twice, each time under a bed.
I’ll turn the light out now. Sleep tight.
I don’t know if you can see the photo of these two old trees. One’s dead, and the other is barely alive. My husband and I planted these trees years and years ago. He’s dead now – the husband. He planted the dead one. I planted the other one, the one that’s gnarled and barely alive. I’ll be eighty-seven this coming October.
There used to be a house roughly where the person taking the photo would be standing. That was our house. The first and only house we had. The two children were born there. It was our dream place; a lovely house, not too big and not too small, set on twelve acres of what could only be described as park land. We planted those two trees (and a number of others here and there) as part of the “landscaping” of our park. Our life was like a perpetual honeymoon.
Jude had built the house himself. And I helped of course, as best I could. I sewed drapes and did the painting and wall-papering and so on. Jude was the one with the saw and the hammer and the screw driver and the muscle. It was like a dream come true!
After the birth of the second child things fell apart. We’d been in the house for four years and we put it up for sale. No one ever bought it and Jude disappeared before any divorce proceedings began. I leased out most of the land to a neighbouring farmer and stayed in the house with the children. They’re gone now – the children. Tony’s a lawyer up in the big city, and Rachel manages a business that teachers adults how to do basic computer things.
My current house gets quite cold in winter, so I’ve asked Tony to come and cut down that dead tree for firewood. The one that’s barely alive has a few more years left in it. It might sound cruel but I’m looking forward to burning logs of Jude’s tree throughout the winter. It’s good he’s serving some purpose at this stage of my life. Apart from building the house he wasn’t much good for much when he was here. In fact he was useless. And mean; really mean. It’s why I did him in.
Merry was called Merry because she was born on Christmas Day. Clearly her parents didn’t realize that the proper spelling of Mary had also some connection with Christmas. Merry spent her entire life, as a punishment for her parents’ lack of knowledge, saying, “No! That’s not how you spell it!”
Just over two years later, when her little brother was born, it was New Year’s Day, so he was named “Happy”. It was a providential name because when he grew up and began a career in looting he shot a couple of policemen and was known within close circles as “Trigger Happy”.
There was a third child in the family. He was called Roger; short for Roger Mortis. The parents thought it a huge joke because he was born on the very day that Grandma died. Spelling was not the parents’ greatest strength so “Rigor” was registered as “Roger”. Otherwise if he had been born on an ordinary day of the year they had in mind to call the baby Plain Jane if a girl, and Joe Blogs if a boy. And then Grandma stepped up to the plate. Roger had escaped from having a life lumbered with silliness.
Honestly, a number of people were relieved that the parents didn’t create further children. “I’m sure any uncreated children would be more than grateful that they never came into this world,” declared a neighbour, Ms. Stacey Meldrum. Stacey herself has a host of kids. I can only remember the names of three of them; Tabernacle, Vernacular, and Genuflection. After these three Stacey developed an interest in organic chemistry.
Hi. My name is Nona. My mother named me that. My father apparently didn’t like the name much because it means “ninth” and I happened to be only the third.
“But I want a Nona,” said my mother.
“Who the hell is going to pay for all those babies if we have nine?” asked my father. So my mother, not to be stymied by silly particulars, named me Nona even though I was only number three.
These days Nona is not a very common name, mainly I suspect because people don’t have large families anymore and to get up to nine children could be scorned upon by the disparaging masses. I like having a not-so-common name. I have a younger brother called Octavius and an even younger sister called Decima.
Once my father abandoned the family, not long after I was born, my mother met my stepfather. By the time my mother and stepfather had reached number nine they couldn’t use Nona so they named number nine after the number three because three hadn’t been used. That is why I have a younger sister called Triana. Strictly speaking I should have been named Triana and my sister named Nona.
People these days stare if we all go out together. Just the other day my mother took all ten of us to the zoo and we went by bus. No sooner had we all sat down than an old lady asked my mother in a very loud voice, “Are they all yours, Sweetie?”
My mother said, Yes” and the old lady said “Goodness, that’s a lot. Aren’t you embarrassed?” I was so mortified.
When we got home from the zoo I heard my mother ask my stepfather what the Latin name was for Eleven.
Jacquitta took her two children, Vinny and Patience for a walk. Patience was four and Vinny was seven.
“Let’s see if we can find where the fairies live,” said Jacquitta.
“I don’t believe in fairies,” said Vinny.
“Oh, but they’re real,” said Jacquitta wanting to protect little Patience from the reality of an imagination-derelict world. “They live in little mushroom villages. They are usually kind and lovely, but sometimes, if you are mean to them, they can get annoyed and then horrible things can happen.”
“It’s not true,” said Vinny. “My friend said that his mother told him that fairies were made up.”
“I’m sure they live around here,” said Jacquitta. “Oh look children! There’s a mushroom ring! It’s a fairies’ village!”
“It’s not a fairies’ village,” said Vinny. “It’s a pile of poisonous mushrooms.”
Vinny kicked the mushrooms with his foot. He smashed them to smithereens. “See,” he said, “no fairies.”
Little Patience burst into tears. “You’ve hurt the fairies and broken their houses,” she said.
“You are a naughty, naughty boy,” said Jacquitta.
The next morning Vinny woke up with a club foot.
Now children, it’s a day to celebrate your grandparents. Grandparents Day! I never had a grandparent myself. They were all dead before I was born except for one grandmother and she was really nasty. In fact, she was in prison for poisoning my grandfather. She poisoned him by injecting weed-killer into homemade chocolates. I was always jealous of those who had proper grandparents. I hated it when other kids talked about their grandparents and how nice they were.
Anyway, I want those who have four grandparents living nearby to form a line here. And those with three grandparents living nearby to form a line here. Those with two grandparents living nearby to form a line here. Those with one grandparent living nearby to form a line here. And those with no grandparents can go outside and play.
I have a basket of chocolates and, depending on what line you are in, you are to take one, two, three, or four chocolates. After school today I want you to go and visit your grandparents and surprise them with a chocolate each for Grandparents’ Day.
I made the chocolates myself using a recipe my grandmother used.
Heidi Windybank had three children to feed and she’d run out of money. She always put the children first. She’d fed them the last crumbs in the cupboard and now she herself was hungry. She had job interview after job interview. It was getting more and more difficult to look presentable at these interviews. It was getting impossible to pay for a bus ticket to the places of interview.
And suddenly! She got a job! It was cleaning rooms in a motel. She knew how to wield a scrubbing brush. She could make a bed to perfection. The problem was she had tried to scrape together some food for the kids and send them off to school, but they would have to do without lunch. The first pay would not be for another two weeks. She was feeling weak and tired. She had to sit down for a bit.
The motel proprietor popped into one of the rooms to check how she was doing. She was sitting on an unmade bed. The motel proprietor dismissed her there and then. He’d had a bad morning; his attempt to purchase another motel had failed, and he was not going to pay riff-raff to do nothing.
Heidi walked home. She was at the end of her tether.
A man and woman called into the house. Teachers had reported that every day her children had eaten no breakfast and were provided with no lunch. The house was cold. They were poorly clothed. She was maltreating her children. The government was taking over. The children would go into foster care.
Do you know her perhaps? She’s that mad woman who walks up and down the main street all day. Everyone says she’s as cuckoo as they come.
That was last winter. Now it’s summer. It’s still raining.
(This is the fourth story in a week or so of repeats. “Mother Goose gives a lesson” first appeared on this blog on 13 March 2014.)
Mother Goose sat all the children in a circle on rugs around the fire.
“Let me tell you a Nursery Rhyme,” said Mother Goose kindly.
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.
“I believe,” said five year old Johnny putting up his hand, “that although it’s not explicitly described, Humpty Dumpty is typically portrayed as an anthropomorphic egg. Is this correct?”
“Well aren’t we a big know-all, you swollen-headed little prick,” said Mother Goose. “I don’t give a rat’s ass if Humpty Dumpty was a whatever-type-of-bird’s-egg-that-you-said or not. Go take steroids, you puny little nerdy slug.”
With that, she took the children and gave them some broth without any bread, and whipped them all soundly and sent them to bed. Just to teach them a jolly good lesson.