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January 21, 2014 / catherinebwrites



 QUAINT (adjective) 1:  obsolete:  EXPERT, SKILLED 2a:  marked by skillful design <quaint with many a device in India ink — Herman Melville>   b:  marked by beauty or elegance 3a : unusual or different in character or appearance :  ODD   b : pleasingly or strikingly old-fashioned or unfamiliar <a quaint phrase>

 Your response must be between 33 and 333 words. • You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post. • The word itself needs to be included in your response. •

Ease Back into School image

Annie slipped her schoolbag off her shoulders and plonked it on the ground.

“The weight of knowledge.” she said.

That’s what Mum called it.   Mum loved a poetic turn of phrase.   Her favourite book was The Golden Treasury of Verse.

“Huh!” grunted Aunty Joan sitting hunched in the blue wicker armchair.   Cantankerous, arthritic and ancient, she lived with them now .

“Poor Joan,” Mum explained, “she’s been stranded on life’s rocky shore.”

Annie  got a drink from the fridge.

“Make me a cup of tea before you sit down.”  said Aunty Joan.

Annie filled the kettle and got a mug from the cupboard.

“Ladies don’t drink from mugs!”

Annie sighed and got one of Mum’s good china cups. She wished her Aunt, well, really her grand-aunt, had washed up on some other shore.

Over tea Aunty Joan quizzed her on what she had learned that day in school and demanded to know  how many slaps she had got.

“Teachers are not allowed slap, it’s illegal”

“Spare the rod and spoil the child.   No wonder this country is going to the dogs.”

Annie said nothing.

“I’ve just noticed,” said Aunty Joan, “you have a very wide mouth.   You should do something about it, ladies should have rosebud mouths, like mine.   My mouth is so small that when I went to the dentist he had to slit me from lip to the ear to get at my back teeth!”

Annie could see no sign of a scar. Mum said Aunty Joan embroidered her memories with needles of silver and threads of gold.

“Say ‘Prunes and Prisms’ dear.   It will give you the rosebud mouth of  a lady. Repeat it twenty-five times a day.”

Mum arrived home.   Annie followed her into the hall and told her about Prunes and Prisms.  

“How quaint!” laughed Mum. “But nowadays Annie, a girl should have a big mouth.   And she should use it to say what she thinks.”

Not Mum’s most poetic turn of phrase but… what a relief!


Leave a Comment
  1. joetwo / Jan 21 2014 5:37 pm

    I have read that “Spare the rod, spoil the child” was originally in reference to S&M activities. The ‘child’ being cupid. I always get a laugh hearing people using it. Good piece. I have a few Aunts like that.


    • catherinebwrites / Jan 22 2014 4:16 pm

      My parents spared the rod and look how I turned out! What does that tell you?


  2. atrm61 / Jan 22 2014 3:17 pm

    Loved so many things about this piece here Catherine-a pleasure to read this kind of writing:-)The “poetic” turn of phrases were great fun and I had to laugh at “She wished her Aunt, well, really her grand-aunt, had washed up on some other shore.”And that bit about her mouth being so tiny that the dentist had to slit it,lol!Quaint indeed!


  3. KymmInBarcelona / Jan 23 2014 11:15 am

    The bonding between mother and daughter shines through this. I love that much of the connection is through words and phrases.
    Also, you nailed the great aunt!
    [bit of crit: you have two “needles” around “silver”]


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