HOW MY SUPER-WOMAN GRANDMA SHAPED MY EDUCATION

10 May

Grandma was excited about high school. So was I. The prestige Clarendon College? Who wouldn’t be. But I don’t know who was more excited- grandma or me. It didn’t matter. SHE was ready for high school. The fact that she was ready, made me ready.

It was far from home. There was one bus. Light Brigade. It came at 4:45 most mornings and sometimes 5:00a.m. That meant I had to be out of the house by 4:30 a.m every morning. Because it was the ONLY bus that traverse the rural hills of Clarendon, many days, it was a 10:00p.m or 11:00p.m return home. Except those days when we would get lucky, and get a space on an occasional early mini-van that also traversed the surrounding communities.

Despite this journey and ridiculous scheduled, I was never late for school and I got good grades. Not because I was more brilliant, but I worked hard. Grandma made sure I did. She didn’t have to coax me either. I knew from early that my successes made her happy, and once she was happy I was happy.

She could not help with the work. But she ensured I did the assignments. I vividly recalled one occasion when I was burning the mid-night oil for an exam. It was about 1:30 a.m. I heard a sleepy voice behind me:

“lawd have mercy you still up. Is wake me wake an see di light and think you drop a sleep leave it? Is what time? you need fi come go to you bed. Is soon time fi you wake up”

“Soon grandma. Just going study little more”

Now I am staying with her..priceless

Now I am staying with her..priceless

She stood watching me. She then poured hot water from the red and black thermos, made me a cup of tea and sat down at the table. She took up one of the books and she skipped through it. Put it down and waited. She started falling asleep. She was tired. I called her gently and told her to go back to bed.

“Not yet. Me caan help you do the work so the least me can do is stay up wid you” she chuckled lovingly.

I went back to studying. She slept at the table. When her not so shrivelled neck could no longer take the discomfort, she got up, reluctantly bid me goodnight once more, and went to bed. This happened right throughout high school.

As I recall the memory, I am teary eyed; overwhelmed with emotions of gratitude, appreciation and unconditional love for the woman who was the rock behind the woman I am today.

All this support and attention was not limited to high school. It went way back…

Primary School

I am no longer a little girl but she cant herself...i am still her little girl

I am no longer a little girl but she cant herself…i am still her little girl

Tables turn...now I comb hers

Tables turn…now I comb hers too

I was too little to remember the exact time. But it was early. Very early. I was attending primary school. She would get up first, make her way to the outside kitchen and start the breakfast. Then she would wake me from my slumber. With sleepy eyes I would make my way outside to the kitchen to comb my hair. Very thick hair that took time to comb. By the time my hair was finished, I was ushered to go have a shower. She would wake the others, serve breakfast. By 7:00am, all ten children were sent off to school.

Why I love to read

Grandma loved to read. She read everything and anything that crossed her path. That’s how I got in trouble once, with her when she found my little journal where I had written about a friend, who gave us lessons on how to kiss a boy. But that’s a story for another time. Because of her love for reading, her grand children did not escape reading sessions. “Take the book and come stand right here” grandma would say. She would then show us the paragraph or page to read. We would have to read it aloud, and made sure we pronounced every word properly. She made us underline the words we did not know. By the end of the week, we had to know them all. Today, my cousins and I who grew up with her are good readers. I have taken it to another level. Reading is my life. That is all I do. Thanks to my super-woman Grandma Blanche.

treasured moments with the woman who saved me from a beating

treasured moments with the woman who saved me from a beating

How grandma saved me a whooping and made me a mastermind at timetables

When I got to grade four, I had to face the dreaded timetable i ran from head-on because mr Brown was very quick with the straps. I hated doing timetables but the fear of a good jamaican whooping from Mr Brown my grade four teacher sent me studying. My Super-woman grandma Blanche took on the challenge. She made me recite my timetables every night before going to bed. In the mornings while combing my hair, I would have to through the drill. Sometimes while I am the heights of a game of football or cricket with the boys, she would summoned me and asked some random ones. Such torture. I soon became a scratch record. I hated the drill but it saved me a beating every day after lunch. Thanks to super-woman grandma Blanche.

How grandma taught me resilience

I went to school when common entrance examination the exam to pass. I did it THREE times. Yup! Surprised huh? I failed on my first two attempts. The first time i was in grade five but eligible for the exam. I did not feel bad when I didn’t pass. My super-woman and I just worked harder. She had the answer sheets from my text books, and every night, I had to do some work, then grandma would call the answers on the answer sheet and uncle Dave (May his soul rest in peace) would mark the script.

receiving deep words of wisdom from my super-woman

receiving deep words of wisdom from my super-woman

I was ready for the exam or so I thought. When results came, I failed again. All my 65 classmates passed. Every. Single. One. I cried. No, I wept. I wailed. My super-woman took my failure with pride. She simply said, “yuh young. yuh have more chance”. I wailed louder and harder. I did not want to go back. I was embarrassed. Afraid. She stood by me. Encouraged me. And sent me back. This time I passed and i have not looked back since.

I almost robbed myself of an opportunity to attend a great high school because of fear and failure. Parents involvement in a child upbringing cannot be emphasized enough.  That is why I go all out for my students too. I know failure. Thanks to my grandma i learnt a valuable lesson. Failure is not synonymous with quitting. To this day, I have a scar from those two failed exam attempts because I am terribly afraid of failure. I am so afraid, sometimes i don’t even want to try. But I was raised by a warrior. A super-woman. So i am a dare devil I do not succumb to the fear. As a matter of fact, that fair of failure has been the driving factor behind all my successes thus far.

You may be wondering about my mother; she is alive and i love her dearly. But note, I lived with my grandmother from I was FOUR months old until 2002 when I left for my final year in college. I visited mommy yes, but the rigours of growing up was all my grandma.

hot grams

The almost 5ft giant. My superwoman

Today I am proud of who I am. Happy and proud of my achievements. But it all started and was fuelled by one lady, my almost 5feet tall super-woman grandmother Blanche.

What can you share about the woman/women who shaped your lives?

Happy Mother’s Day to all.

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12 Responses to “HOW MY SUPER-WOMAN GRANDMA SHAPED MY EDUCATION”

  1. Jannet Reynolds May 10, 2015 at 8:54 pm #

    Awww what an awesome tribute. One love

  2. Sheena W May 12, 2015 at 12:09 pm #

    Nostalgic read Dorraine…….. You took me back to my Grandma (gone but not forgotten)….. Enjoyed every bit of this piece.

    • rainereid May 13, 2015 at 2:15 am #

      Thanks Sheena W. I am glad you enjoyed it. Nothing can compare to a grandmothers love

  3. Nardel Henry May 11, 2016 at 3:22 pm #

    Dorraine great inspiration. .. we went to Primary and C.C together you were always a happy girl… big up

    • rainereid May 12, 2016 at 11:48 am #

      Thanks for taking time to read Nordel. I still try to be happy. Plus you contributed to my happiness. All of you in that class kept me smiling

  4. Nardel Henry May 11, 2016 at 3:24 pm #

    Can identify with that bus … one bus Light Bigrade was sharing with some students those experiences and they all laughed….

  5. Ethan May 10, 2017 at 12:56 pm #

    Tears tears tears Dorraine you need to write the book

  6. Georgia Dockery May 10, 2017 at 11:52 pm #

    I could go on reading.

    • rainereid May 11, 2017 at 12:25 pm #

      Will ensure there is more to read. Promise

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. HOW MY SUPER-WOMAN GRANDMA SHAPED MY EDUCATION | Rainereid's Educators Block - May 13, 2015

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