06. June 2013 · Comments Off on Patterns · Categories: L.. 13 to 15 years, Out of the Blue

My brother sends me a model house he built, a trophy for my being First of the Class.   I give it to the nuns.  They display it on a little table in the hallway.   By the time the new term starts, it is gone.

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The nuns see that pushing me up a grade was not enough.   There are unintended consequences.

They push me up another grade.

It is painful to lose all my classmates once more.    There is no time to brood.   I scramble to catch up on classwork.

Our new textbooks come from Catholic University in Washington.  New teachers arrive from the U.S. and Europe.

Mother Theotokos is young and modern.  She teaches us biology in an American accent.   She tells us stories about teenagers like ourselves.   We are jealous that they do more fun things in American high schools.   Compared to them we are drudges with our noses pressed to the grindstone.

Mother Columbine is Irish but she has been in the Far East for a long time.   She is petite, and the huge English literature textbook seems even heavier when she handles it.   How much of that can we cover? Undaunted, Mother Columbine begins with Beowulf.

Mother Columbine teaches that emotions are good.   I think of my father’s anger and how is that good?

This literature textbook has two complete Shakespearean plays, short novels and stories, and the essays of Emerson, Thoreau, James and other American and British writers.   Why do I remember being absorbed in Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilych?   They must have stuck some translated works in there.

The section of poems is enormous, but not random.   They have been given a form.  Here are the lyricists, there the metaphysical poets, over here the transcendentalists, over there the allegorical poets.

I want to read everything in this treasure trove, but I know that I must focus on what Mother Columbine assigns.  I have to separate the two.   What I need is a map.

coca cola calenda

Out of the blue someone gives me a very large Coca Cola calendar.  The back is blank.  Perfect.  I draw a map using color pencils.  I give a place to every writer and work we cover.   I add identifying clues.   This way, I can remember the details by “seeing” the whole map and focusing on the place where I put the author.

I notice that even though I don’t make maps for my other subjects, there I am also remembering patterns and structures.   I can “see” the information I need as a logical part of the whole.

I think everyone studies like this until Annie enlightens me.

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