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Daughter of Ishmael by Diane Stringam Tolley

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by Diane Stringam Tolley

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Ahhh! Romance!


Grade Twelve English 30.
My favourite class of all time.
What could possibly be better than reading books and stories and then talking about them?
Or of writing your own?
Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
Our teacher was a veteran of many, many years. She had taught each of my three elder siblings and survived.
And now it was my turn.
Most of the time, I was fairly quiet in her class - choosing mostly to listen as the conversations went on around me. Keeping my opinions to myself, except when they could be submitted in a written format.
My grades were good.
We were working our way through a thick volume of short stories. Some exciting. Some bizarre. Some sweet and romantic.
It was during this last that I came to grief.
Let me explain . . .
We were reading a story about a man who saw a beautifully-made doll in the window of a local shop.
The doll affected him greatly.
It seemed to 'speak' to him.
He purchased the doll and tried to find out more about it and the person who had made it.
He discovered that the doll and others like it were made locally and that a woman usually brought them in to the shop a few at a time.
He tracked down the woman.
She was not the artist.
Instead, she kept the real doll-maker a virtual prisoner, and forced her to keep making dolls, which were then sold.
The imprisoned doll-maker was justifiably sad and put all of the love she would have given her unborn children into her dolls. Which was why they were so beautiful.
The man fell in love with the captive doll-maker, stole her away and married her.
And they lived happily ever after.
Okay, I admit it, when I read this story, I discovered that I'm a romantic.
I loved it.
Loved the 'happily ever after' ending.
I was excited for the discussion to start . . .
“How many of you liked this story?” the teacher asked.
My hand shot up.
Then slowly lowered as I realized that I was the only person in the class who had raised one.
“This story was drivel!” the teacher said. “Absolute tripe!” She stomped around the front of the class. “Stupid romantic nonsense! Waste of good print! Waste of time!”
She added several more derisive comments, then stopped and stared at me.
My hand was back on my desk.
“Well, I thought it was romantic,” one of the other girls tried to come to my aid.
The teacher snorted. “Hmph! Don't know why it was included in this book! Maybe as an example of lousy writing!”
The class was silent.
“Asinine garbage! Should be torn out of the book!” She glared around. “Any other thoughts?”
Let me put it this way . . . the discussion following this story didn't take up much time.
The story was given a brief technical reckoning, then dismissed.
And the class moved on to the next story.
I moved with them, reading and responding to my assignments.
Suspense.
Mystery.
Humour.
But I never forgot my first romantic story.
I read and re-read it.
Loving it more each time.
Mmmm.
Romance.
I still think I was right.

13 comments:

  1. Oh so do I! I am honestly stunned that a teacher would give such a strong personal opinion like that. Especially to such new students learning all there is to know about stories in the world. Shocking really. Makes me wonder what was going on in her life to hate such romantic stories. ; S

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Let me just say that she, umm . . . wasn't the romantic type! :)

      Delete
  2. I'm really stunned that she would react that way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She was a great teacher, but romance definitely wasn't in her make-up! :)

      Delete
  3. I think you were right too. It was a lovely story. This was a great post; loved reading it. You are such a talented writer.
    Blessings!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. See? You get it! Thank you so much!!!

      Delete
  4. Ah yes, but did the doll maker REALLY live happily ever after? If she found happiness, she wouldn't have been able to make such wonderful dolls, so that part of her would be lost forever!!

    Don't get me wrong, I liked the story too! Just as well the cynics haven't completely taken over!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, Red! Important point. We need the realists to keep our feet on the ground! :)

      Delete
  5. I agree with Lynn's assessment, there must have been something going on in the teacher's life to react in such a way. There was an open door for teaching about the realities of life and romance, and as was stated before the "happily ever after" scenario. Your teacher really missed the mark on this one. So sad, but a great story Diane.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Was that Ms. Ivy? If so then I bantered with her constantly. Between her Ms. L and Miss M. they encouraged me to do more writing, and to stand up for my opinion.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All the teachers loved you! Sigh.

      Delete
  7. Replies
    1. Thank you, Barbara! I'm so glad you agree!!!

      Delete

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Diane was born and raised on one of the last of the great old Southern Alberta ranches. A way of life that is fast disappearing now. Through her memories and stories, she keeps it alive. And even, at times, accurate . . .

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