Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Glue-ing Ahead

It was THE assignment.
The one the teacher had been threatening promising since the beginning of the year.
That was worth 50% of my final mark.
Yes. THAT assignment.
She had handed it out shortly after the Christmas break.
We had three months to complete it.
Due Date: April 1.
Feverishly, I set to work.
Researched. (And just so you know, research was a lot harder back then. It involved such things as: books. Physically turning pages. Trips to the *gasp* library. Looking things up in the card catalog. Knowing the Dewey Decimal System. Becoming close friends with the librarian. Yikes.)
Drew up draft after draft.
Finalized.
Put on the finishing touches.
Slept soundly the night of March 31, wrapped warmly in the knowledge that I had completed the assignment to the best of my ability and that, surely, an 'A' was forthcoming.
Okay, now forget everything I wrote from the line "Due Date: April 1."
Because this is what really happened.
................................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................................
Then March 31 dawned.
And with it, the knowledge that I should . . . you know . . . make a start on the assignment.
What was it again?
A trip to the library was out of the question. We lived 20 miles from town and 'no way one of my parents was going to pay for my slothfulness' .
I'm quoting my father BTW.
I turned to the only resources available.
Dad.
Mom.
The cook.
The hired men.
The encyclopedia Britannica.
And the National Geographic.
With occasional queries to my siblings.
And my horse.
Just FYI, that last was a total waste of time. He didn't know anything.
Dumb horse.
If  Necessity is the Mother of invention, then Desperation is its Father.
And I was truly desperate. (Hence said query to my horse.)
I sifted purposefully through Dad's stack of National Geographics (see above).
Chose a topic at random.
And started in.
Now, just so you know, Dad had problems with us kids cutting up his precious magazines.
But if you hid said magazines really, really well . . .
Like with the hired men's stack of 'girly' periodicals which I wasn't supposed to know about (and for sure Dad didn't).
I don't remember what topic I chose.
But I do remember that there were plenty of colourful pictures that supported it. And as long as I cut using the correct scissors (Diane! You'd better not be using my sewing scissors?!), my biggest decision remained: Do I use this picture? Or the one on the other side ?
Fortunately, Mom had a store of poster board. I'm not sure why. Maybe because she had dealt with Procrastinator #4 (ie. me) before.
But there was one thing she did not have.
A bottle of glue.
And no it wasn't because I had eaten said glue.
Nope.
This bottle, my smaller siblings had eaten.
True story.
No way you could get them to eat broccoli. But give them a bottle of processed horse hooves and they were on it!
Where was I?
Oh, yes. Glue.
Or the lack thereof.
Then Mom made the momentous announcement: "If you mix flour and water into a thick paste, it sticks really well."
The day is mine!
I mixed and slathered and pasted.
And slathered and pasted.
And pasted.
And . . . you know what? It didn't work at all!
But by now, March 31 had rapidly turned into April 1 and the bus was coming.
I packaged up my 'project' and headed out.
Kathy was proudly showing the culmination of months of preparation when I got on the bus. I don't remember her topic, but I think it had flashing neon lights and maybe an actual working model of a machine that turned lead into gold. Complete with lead. And gold.
Yeah, Kathy was amazing like that.
When she asked me about mine, I quickly changed the subject: "Oh my! Look! Balog's cows are out!"
Yeah, I was clever that way.
Shortly thereafter, I turned in my project along with the others and happily forgot about it.
I think I received a "Diane would have gotten a better grade if she'd spent more time on this assignment."
Who listened?
P.S. Years later, I discovered my assignment stuffed into a file in the back of Mom's file cabinet. And guess what? Those pictures were stuck so tight an act of God wouldn't have removed them.
Flour and water do work.
You just have to . . . plan ahead . . .

6 comments:

  1. If we have to deal with a nuclear apocolypse you can eat your assignment (you know, the flour part).

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ha! This brought back so many memories of procrastination on my part... and my daughters'! (Don't we all have a Kathy in our life! Gotta love 'em!)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I did similar things with yearly projects right up until grade seven, when I actually did do the work, but didn't hand it in on time because the book didn't have a cover. We did our projects in books with lined pages on the left for writing and blank pages on the right for the pictures. Grade seven teacher demanded the book have a cover with a title and author. she handed me and several other kids, a large sheet of brown paper to use as a cover, and I brought the book in the next Monday. I was deducted five points for not handing it in on time, but got a decent grade on it. all those years I hadn't realised a project could be so much fun.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh memories...memories. Except I didn't have a horse, ranchhands, brothers or sisters....I wonder if anyone has done a study proving the great achievements of childhood procrastinators once they grow up? (or not)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I actually believed the first part, Diane, I really did! But the second part sounds more like reality for most kids, including me. I couldn't procrastinate too much because I had my teacher mother supervising and she made sure I got started earlier; otherwise I'm sure I would have actually missed deadlines when I was younger. My procrastination streak runs deep! By the time I got to high school and then university I did better.

    My father told me stories of helping his mother paper the walls using newspaper and flour paste. They were poor and used what they had. It was for insulation more than decoration. I can also remember my own mother using flour paste to put up real wallpaper, the kind without glue already on it. It looked like fun but I'm sure it was anything but . . . . . way off topic here! I love that your mom kept your project and that everything was still holding up!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank for your very good article! i always enjoy & read the post you are sharing!

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    ReplyDelete

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