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Some Pig!

I cried when the spider died in Charlotte’s Web. It was 1983, Summer, kindergarten, in one of those long weatherboard classrooms with the ceiling fans groaning overhead. All us kids were scattered over the bright green carpet, lying on stomachs, propped up on elbows, never comfortable in those horrible cotton uniforms. We were watching the animated movie version of the book.

Mum taught Year 2 at the same school, and I tried to avoid her because I was a dorky little teacher’s pet as it was, if the kids knew my mum was a teacher too, I’d get thumped in the playground. So when I saw her come into the classroom that day, my heart sank and I looked for a desk to hide under.

She sat down on a chair next to my teacher and they whispered. Then, horror of horrors, I got called over. All those eyes watching me as I picked my way through the little bodies on the floor.

Mum’s eyes were all red and puffy. I wondered what was wrong. She pulled me up onto her lap and I squirmed with embarrassment.

Luckily the movie got really good then, I think Wilbur won the prize at the fair, so everyone stopped watching me.

“What’s wrong Mum?”

She was all teary again. “Ma died.”

Ma was her grandmother, on her father’s side. I didn’t remember much except her being tall with big brown eyes, and there were scones and red jam for afternoon tea in a big grey house with a bullnose verandah.

I also remembered my mum loved her to bits, and she would always say to me, “You have brown eyes and red hair just like Ma, I always wanted to have a daughter with brown eyes and red hair.” Even now when I’m feeling rejected or pathetic or ugly or just not good about me, she’ll say with misty eyes that she always wanted a daughter that looked just the way I do. Hurrah, the self-esteem is patched up again!

We just sat there watching the movie. I stayed perched on her lap and I tried to figure out what this whole Ma Died thing meant. I forgot about all the kids on the floor. Mum was crying so I started crying, it seemed the thing to do. I felt sad but didn’t quite know why. Then Charlotte A. Cavatica the spider died, and I felt I really had something to feel sad about now, so I cried even harder.

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About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! I’m an author, copywriter and old school blogger. I love telling stories about life and helping my clients to tell theirs. Find out more about me and how we can work together.


27 thoughts on “Some Pig!

  1. Good story. No fluff. I like that. Um. Awkward pause. Uh. I’m sorry, Shauna. That’s so very sad. Now I shall go remove my foot from my mouth. Thank you.

  2. That book makes me cry every time. And I’ve just started preparing myself for the fact that my grandparents only have 20 years max left, and it’s more likely to be much sooner than that.

    And I hate that.

    You reminded me of the synopsis of Charlotte’s Web at A Book a Minute *goes to copy and paste*

    Wilbur, the Pig:
    I don’t want to die.

    Charlotte, the Spider
    Fear not. I have a plan.

    (Charlotte spins a web over the pig with words like GREAT and SUPER in it.)

    Everyone:
    The pig is amazing.

    Reader:
    The spider is amazing.

    Ok this comment is longer than long enough now.

  3. My mother turned 59 yesterday, my father [a year younger] had a stroke earlier this year, my grandmother is visiting for a month starting next week, she’s in her 80s.

    I never thought about this stuff a year ago, but now I worry about it more than I would like to . . .

  4. My dad tells me that his father would have really liked me, (lived away and died when I was 8), has the same effect during family gatherings when all assembled tell me what a freak I am. Three cheers for Happy Thoughts!

  5. Samfo has four great grandparents and one grandparent. So it’s not all rosy.

    I know Mark will read this, cause he’s only been here like three times!

  6. Thanks for that, Shauny – It was really good to read, made me think about gone grandparents and our reactions to their deaths. True stories always have a bundle of emotions, and you captured that beautifully.

    I always cry at the end of Charlotte’s Web as well, and I hate spiders. Damn sympathetic animated characters.

  7. I’m sitting here practically bawling my brains out when I read this, because when you said that your mom always wanted a daughter that looked just the way you do, I am reminded of my own mother who, when I’m riddled with guilt or when she gives me crap about about something bad I’d done, says the same thing. Only it’s “I used to dream about having a little girl with curly brown hair and laughing brown eyes and I got her.” Worse yet, she’d tell me about how I was such a wanted first child. “Your dad and I wanted a baby so bad. I used to cry and get so upset whenever I got my period.”

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