The Grade Two classroom library in John S. Read School in North Camden drifted into my mind as my granddaughter fell asleep in my arms. She hadn’t wanted to sleep, but wanted me to read to her. I took my book, Irish History for Dummies, away from her and we read her books. Her eyelids fluttered.
I put her in her crib and she slept so I sat back in the rocker. Would she be a girl who loved books like me? I thought of the books about twins that had awaited me on the floor level shelves in Miss Robinson’s room. I was desperate for those books and I rushed messily through Think and Do workbook assignments and pages of addition and subtraction to read those books about kids all over the world.
It was satisfying to look up online that set of books from the 1950s –they did exist—not a figment of my imagination. I especially remember The Swiss Twins, The Dutch Twins, The Farm Twins, The Chinese Twins and my favorite, The Belgian Twins. Lucy Fitch Perkins wrote most of them and I wish I could have told her how much pleasure they gave a little Camden girl.
Almost sixty years later, I remember the girl twin in Belgium who loved pickles. I have a vague memory that if she got into some small mischief or didn’t do her chores that she wouldn’t be allowed to have her pickle or to buy it. Her twin, a boy, was sympathetic. It’s funny what I can remember and what I don’t!
Those twin books gave me an early glimpse of lives outside of Camden. Thank you to Miss Robinson who never reprimanded me for hurrying through classwork to propel myself into other places of the world while my fellow pupils were carefully and neatly finishing the assignments.
I still love to read about different places in the world through mysteries, novels, biographies, autobiographies and memoirs set in different countries. And—travel guides! Those books bring the world to me in my home here in Cramer Hill. The twin books and my teacher’s leniency might have set off that interest?
If there was a moral to this tale, it might be to encourage a child to read. That child might remember you decades later and be a happy reader, too.
What teacher do you remember?
Love to my readers,
Marguerite (Wunsch) Ferra
Cramer Hill resident
Product of Camden City Public Schools
3 thoughts on “Grade 2, North Camden, Reading about Twins!”
I had forgotten about the “Think and Do”. I recall my grade school teachers from 1st to 6th grade. My kindergarten teacher’s name has been deleted, for some reason and I feel bad about it because I remember liking her, she was very sweet and had a way with children. I often find myself wracking my brains trying to remember. Good reading. From 115 Penn and Puerto Rico Saludos.
Thanks for your comment! What school did you attend in kindergarten? I remember my kindergartener teacher’s name—Miss Dyer. I was a bit afraid of her and she scolded me for not finishing my milk. The milk came in those little cartons in a milk crate and sat outside (safely!!!) in the school yard until an older student brought it into Miss Dyer’s class. She then put the milks on the radiator. The wax from the cartons melted a bit and would float in the milk. Those floating bits made me feel sick and I couldn’t drink it all. I had to miss indoor playtime every day for that and I had to watch the other kids play in the sandbox, build with the big wooden blocks and play house. Finally, when it was time to pay the next lunch money, I cried and told my mother. She canceled the milk order and I had playtime again.
I lived in the 800 block of Grant Street and I too attended John S. Read. I love your blog post about it. I remember ALL of my teachers there: Miss Dyer, Miss Robinson, Miss McDermott, Miss Vercusky and Mrs. Crate. Miss Robison had a “gentleman friend”, Mr. Coffee, who drove her to school. She also had the most beautiful roses in her home garden, which I believe was in Cramer Hill. All of the teachers encouraged my love of reading, for which I always be grateful. Thanks for stirring the memories.
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