(Maytime poster from a selection in the Emporium
I can't help but feel a little excited about the beginning of May. Yes, I know how grey and wet it is, how unbelievably wet this drought is, how the slugs and snails are having a field day in the garden and that the peonies are being devoured before they even get a chance to put on their new summer dresses. "May" always sounds like it should bring such promise, Spring, blossom, warmer days, the start of evenings outside, long walks in the countryside, the wonderful Brighton Festival that fills the town with people, ideas, colour, creativity and the unexpected, new shoots in the garden (well, those that haven't been eaten by the slugs) and a change of food in the kitchen.
Yet, if I'm brutally honest, what I always remember at the start of Spring is my navy blue school gym knickers, smelly rubber soled plimsolls, the waxed wooden floor of the school hall, the despair at finding who your teacher has paired you up with as a dance partner and the whole palaver of the dreaded Maypole being wheeled out from somewhere beneath the stage from the cupboard "where we were never ever allowed to go..."
Memories of the start of the summer term at Primary school for me come tied up in the different colour sashes that we were made to wear to sort out our teams in the Maypole gymboree accompanied by the wonderful whiff of wallflowers that would float into the school hall from the very green and very large fields that surrounded it (I have conveniently blocked out all the other smells that accompanied the forty of us ten year olds as we pranced around that hall).
I remember wondering in awe how the ribbons we were holding would ever ever make the patterns intended. The worry of 'ducking' instead of 'weaving', the mass of tangles that inevitably followed us as we skipped merrily around that pole in a whirlwind of mayhem. As we feverishly danced round and round, lighting the very short fuse that was the teacher's temper, from somewhere in the corner of the room that Country Dance music kept on blaring - indefeatable in its optimism that we would master the skills required from us. After all, just how difficult could it be to create a yellow and red plait hanging from a wooden pole created by three dozen unco-ordinated children?
There were days when plaits and patterns were achieved, there were days when hoardes of us were sent out of the hall for not being able to control our giggles, there were days when we all decided it would be fun to 'accidentally fall over' each other so that the music had to stop and we would have to start all over again. There were days however when the teacher was so suitably impressed with our dancing and plaits that we were promised a slot in the summer concert, showing off our skills to our parents (but these, I seem to remember were few and far between). And in my memories there were always days, those special Maydays, when the last piece of equipment was wheeled away, we were untangled from our ribbons and sashes, smelly plimsolls were banished to our shoebags and coat hooks and we were set free onto the school field to run and laugh and show off our new found dancing skills whilst one of us stood shrieking us in some poor impersonation of our beleaguered PE teacher.
Whilst I know deep down that the sun didn't always shine and that more often than not our dancing escapades were followed by "wet plays" where we were trapped inside the classroom looking longingly out of the windows at our beloved field outside, it's on grey, wet May days like today that a pair of rose coloured glasses come in very handy.
Sorry for the lack of paragraphs, it's not that I spent all my time at school dancing and prancing and forgetting how to create a paragraph, more a case of holding up my hand and "Miss, it's not fair, new blogger just won't let me do what I want to do." (although I do remember my last teacher at prinary school saying he wouldn't give me any more "A's until I mastered the art of the paragraph) So if anyone can help with advice on how to make a paragraph I would be very grateful and if reading this post makes you feel as breathless as I did spiralling round that maypole - I am sorry!
You did NOT put "dreaded" and "Maypole" in the same sentence! I LOVE the maypole! I only remember doing the maypole dance one year -- when I was in first grade. It's not a common thing here in the states -- in fact it's pretty much unheard of. It's a tradition I wish they'd revive. I'm sorry you didn't love it but I sure enjoyed reading about your memories of it!
Haha I did love it, I really did, it was so much fun - but only when the teacher was a happy bunny, which wasn't that often .
I've never danced the Maypole,but I always marvel at children who do...it looks so challenging.It was fun reading your memories of it! :0)
I loved your memories of the Maypole, we never had the opportunity of Dacing the Maypole at my school as the year I went to the Juniors they stopped it! I would have loved to have had the opportunity just once!
This really is wonderful article ! I simply love’d it !
We did Country dancing (which I dreaded!), but never had a Maypole.
So good to see you back!
I remember getting the giggles one year and tripping over the girl in front. Haven't seen a maypole in years. Hope all is well along the coast. Karen X
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