My food-sensitive life Primary school 1951 – 1956 Age 5 to 10 August 24, 2022 by Joan Breakey Blog At age five I started school which I loved. I am told the good sisters who taught me could always tell where I was in the school yard because of my constant talking. I was told I was bossy by a few other children but think it was more because I loved things to be organised than because wanted to be the one in charge. When I was in Grade three I remember that the teacher, Sister J, had me teaching the Grade ones, and I loved it.Where I was interested in something I could be very focused. When I played Alice in Wonderland in a school play I knew everyone’s lines. I can still remember the rhyme that “Tweedledum and Tweedle-dee agreed to have a battle as Tweedledum said Tweedle-dee had spoiled his nice new rattle.” I enjoyed the full Catholic Mass in Latin as I was part of the choir. I could remember the entire Latin Credo and other parts perfectly for years after.I suspect I was what we would now call “off with the fairies” quite a lot of the time. I have a vivid memory of the ever-patient Sister J trying to get through to me how important it was to be extra helpful to my mother at the time when she lost a baby. I would have been about 7 years old.In hindsight I have realised how lucky I was that my mother was very good at her job. I meet people who wonder how she raised eleven children. I have since met women who run schools and hospitals and realize she was as competent in her own situation mostly accommodating to our many and varied needs. We were provided with sports balls, a basket ball hoop, paper for painting using up the water-based paint left over from the new house painting, supplemented with paint pots. We played board and card games and ones that extended our thinking. One included choosing a letter of the alphabet and filling in columns of names of birds, cities of the world, animals, vegetables and minerals. Books that we were ready for just appeared among books around the big but filled kitchen-dining room area. My sisters learned music but I preferred art. I was considered talented with my efforts on display when the school inspectors visited.I had trouble remembering right from left. I learned it when I learned to set the table knife and fork. The problem arose much later when someone asked me to turn right when driving. I had to go back to imagining holding a knife and fork so I could make the turn. As well I had no sense of direction but did not know that that was significant when I was small, as everywhere was familiar around our farm and on the way to school.In some circles it is seen as important to do balance exercised for brain function development. We enjoyed balancing games such as walking along the wooden top rail of the sheep-yard fence. ( the one I am sitting on with my sister in the attached photo.) It was about 10cm wide and 1.3 metres above the ground. We also walked on stilts, and on a large rolling metal drum. If we felt our balance going we had to jump off to the side to avoid falling in front of the drum which could get up quite a speed. We played many games: imaginative role-playing ones, where we began as very poor children and ended up so rich and famous the game became boring and we would begin another.At the time I did not think of myself as carsick person as we did so few long trips. I just remember feeling off-colour whenever we went on the two-hour trips from our Ballarat area to Melbourne. I sometimes felt sick after the much shorter trip from our farm to Ballarat and now wonder if it may have been added to by the effect of the coloured ice cream treat we only got on those trips.I think I had nightmares when small. I certainly remember waking and feeling terrified that a fox [which I saw as bad as the wolves of fairy stories] was sleeping on my feet. I am not sure that learning when I woke that the lump pressing on my feet was my school bag, stopped it happening again. I was told that I had “too vivid an imagination” on various occasions. I remember worrying that the quite extinct volcano near our farm might blow up when the deep roar of a distant train hinted at such a happening.