Yarn, Yorkshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

Posts tagged ‘Tom Sawyer’

Yarn Along!

First of all Congratulations and much love to Ginny at Small Things  (host to Yarn Along!) who was safely delivered of her new baby on 5 November . He is beautiful.

Whatever happened to picture jumpers to children? My boys loved them. Last year the shops were full of Christmas jumpers but there doesn’t seem to be a general picture jumper revival yet. I don’t care- Master T is too young to know that my latest offering for his wardrobe was first knitted for his Uncle B ,20 something years ago. And who knows I might be on trend, first in the fashion queue..

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As there will be no less than 4 buttons sewn onto the hat and suit on the front, he may just love it-( he is a big button fan!!)

I am still reading Tom Sawyer- it was written as a book for children, but I am wondering if a modern child would enjoy it, or a parent or school promote the story. Last week I mentioned the freedom to roam and get into mischief Tom was permitted.

This week I shall mention the darker side of the story. There was great poverty in the community, children going hungry and barefoot ( although this may have been by choice in the summer). Tom was physically beaten both at school and home. He seems to have frequently got out of the house at midnight for his escapades ( this would be classed as neglect, these days). He ran away from home with two friends to live on an island for a week, before making a dramatic re appearance at their own funerals. Tom and his friend Huckleberry Finn witness a murder. Huckleberry overhears a plot ( unsuccessful) to torture a widow by a criminal on the run for the murder, for the supposed wrong her husband did to the villain of the plot. Then Tom and his “girlfriend” Becky get lost for several days in a magnificent cave full of passages , stalactites and BATS, before finding their way out 5 miles down river. And of course there is the hideous under current of acceptance of slavery which runs as a strand throughout the book.

The book is well written and easily accessible in terms of language and does conjure up both sides of the past of life in Missouri in 1835-1845. Would I give it to a ten year old child these days, maybe but with a lot of guidance.

Yarn Along!

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I have been so busily engrossed with my cottage garden crochet blanket that knitting was put on the back burner. I had a mammoth knitting session last night,and the latest little offering for Little Miss F is ready to sew up and have a button sewn on. OOH lovely , a trip to the button shop.

Meantime I finished the White Queen by Phillipa Gregory, read a short ghost story by Charles Dickens on my kindle, and the book version of the film Ruthless People. ( I do find both Danny De Vito and Bette Midler, very funny, and the book was as funny as the film). Then I was stuck, what to read next ? I turned the last page of Ruthless people, tucked up in bed late at night, not quite ready for sleep, with nothing close by that I fancied.  So a quick trip – literally over Mr E’s clutter on his side of the bed to the bookshelf in our bedroom. This is mostly full of E’s bedtime reading- endless Rumpole and Sherlock Holmes, but then I spotted my copy of Tom Sawyer.

I must have read this at school aged around 11 or 12 and enjoyed it enough to buy my own copy when I was 21. I have not read it since. Now I am three sons and two grandsons on and Tom Sawyer makes me laugh so much. It describes small boys to an absolute T. From the content of their grotty pockets of treasures , to their games of pirates etc, to the dodges out of things they don’t want to do and to the Showing Off to impress others!

The story saddens me in that we have lost such a lot in denying children the freedom to explore on their own and get up to mischief. I am grateful that I had my childhood in the 50s when we could and did roam far and wide and were outside all day, without an adult watching over us.

E and I chose to move to a small Oxfordshire village which in the late 80s was still quiet and sleepy, to try to give our boys the same childhood we had enjoyed. We lived on a main through fare, but I doubt I saw as much as three tractors a day pass by. Everyone knew everyone and all the adults ( mostly stay at home Mums) looked out for the children. Stranger passing through- we all knew in minutes- and the children played on the playing field- the houses overlooking it kept watch. The children went down to the river in big groups and paddled and swam. They rode bikes, played football, climbed trees, collected conkers,found frogs, washed cars and had some of the freedom enjoyed by us in the 50s and 60s. Yes they did get into mischief, but the village bobby and school teachers were supportive of parents. And anyway getting into mischief is part of being a child.

At the time our boys thought that life in a town or city would be much better. Now they have friends from University and jobs and hear of what child hood is like there and are so grateful for what we gave them. I hope that in some small safe communities there are still children playing freely in fields and woods- there aren’t here any more….. except when it snows- and then the teenagers become children again and sledge down our hills!

There is a darker side to Tom Sawyer, but then there is to life also. I’ll share some more of this book next week.

Meantime joining in with Ginny for Yarn along

I’ll leave you with this picture of a gift of Autumn Colour given to me at the weekend by my dear friend C from her garden

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