The backstory: At the start of 2016, I pulled out my very favorite Miss Read book, Village Centenary. The novel is structured in months and each chapter explores a month in the year of a village school that is celebrating its 100th anniversary. This year, my own school is celebrating its 250th anniversary and as we think of our past and look to our future, I thought that Miss Read would make a lovely companion for me. For each month of 2016, I plan to read Miss Read’s reflection on the month.
Miss Read is a pseudonym for Dora Jessie Saint, an English author who wrote between 1955 and 1996. Her novels were tales of every day life in small English towns. Village Centenary is set in Fair Acre, an imaginary Cotswold community. As is the case in nearly all of the Fair Acre novels, the novel is written in the first person and it is through our narrator, school teacher Miss Read, that the story unfolds.
Miss Read’s June was filled with flowers and sunlight. She starts her month having returned from a late May vacation from school. As I don’t live in England, my May was lovely but filled with the last weeks of school, each day seemingly more crammed with events than the next. Then June arrived and the real chaos began.
June with Miss Read
Miss Read’s June starts on a more restful note and her month meanders into July with talk of garden blooms and the summer school break that is close at hand. As June unfolds, Miss Read settles on a plan for her school’s 100th anniversary to be held at the the end of the year in December.
At this point, with my summer break just underway, December seems a far off event. But the older I get, the more rapidly the school year seems to pass. JT has just finished the 10th grade and this summer he will practice driving in earnest so that come February 2017 he can get his driver’s license. This month we will start to make college visits, a development that seems as insane as the idea of my boy driving a car.
So as Miss Read reflects on that last 100 years of her school, I am thinking about my last year and planning my summer to-do list. First on the list is some time away from school to relax, sleep in, and enjoy some baseball. Miss Read, from her bench in the sunny garden, would surely understand.