little incident which I shall always cherish in my treasure chest
of memories was when I was addressing a class of 7 year-olds. I was
(as I mostly ambeing a South African 'Boeremeisie') barefoot
and suddenly this little boy interrupted me to demand: "Where's your
Innocently I replied: "On my feet."
He did a double check and accused: "You got no shoes on"
I held his eye and replied firmly: "Of course I got shoes on."
"There's no shoes on your feet!" he insisted, with me insisting that
there were, equally firmly.
After two or three more exchanges like this, I glanced down and had
to apologise: "Oh, sorry, I forgot, I put on my invisible shoes this
The group parted like the Red Sea, and that was the end of my presentation
to that group. They scurried back to their classroom and I returned
to swinging my sledgehammer.
But his incident did not end there. Unbeknown to us, the school had
organised a competition for the Foundation Phase kids to write a "story"
about "The Day the Circus came to Our School" promising them that
the Circus would be asked to pick the best 'story.'
A few weeks later the entries duly arrived and as the only "teacher"
(of sorts) available, I was set to go through the 10 best after the
finalists had been chosen. Among them was one from a little boy recounting
how he had met a "magic lady" who wore 'invisible shoes'.
He wrote: (I copied it into my diary to keep - how could I not!):
"I met a reel magic lady at the Circus. She was a reel magic lady.
I saw her with my oan ayes. I saw she whor no shoes so she had reel
invisabil shoes on. So I did meet a magic lady the Day the Circus
came to our School. Amen. The End."
No prizes for guessing who won the competition. But this story is
still not ended. A few years later, one of my 'circus pals' tracked
me down again after I had returned to South Africa. He sent me a gift:
A Children's book, written by a young writer who dedicated it to:
"The Magic Lady with the invisible shoes who inspired me to become
a writer of Children's books
So, with kids, one never knows when a little seed lands in good soil