Noël au Nouveau Monde

Christmas in the New World


Among my favourite odd behaviours is prowling around dusty old bookshops or second–hand stores for the bygone, obsolete, curious, or just plain bizarre. Every once in a while, you get to unearth Public school music text, title page
Public school music text, title page
(Webmaster’s Collection)
a treasure, and suddenly you’re back in grade seven, standing next to your desk, and singing.

The music teacher, Miss Stock, has just finished squawking out a fwaaangh on her pitch pipe and cued her decisive “DOH–soh....”, left hand poised for the down–beat — her musical way of saying “Get ready to sing, and you will sing.” She steps around the classroom waving her left hand, stooping here and there to make sure you are singing. Or she is seated at the piano, which has been rolled to the top of the stairs at the front of the school’s first floor. The huge dividing doors to the classrooms on either side have been pushed aside, and the whole school is seated on the floor in the classrooms and in the hallway. It’s Friday morning assembly, Miss Stock is tossing her head to and fro at the piano accompanying our singing, and the principal, Mister Murphy paces back and forth as he leads, both amused and bemused.

I said I was old.