It was the day after the school trip to the Black Country Museum. I was 10 and bubbling with excitement as we’d just been given a writing task. The best sort of lesson. We’d been told to write about our experience at the museum.
I carefully considered my options. I didn’t want to just write the same things as everyone else. I thought about the transport we’d seen, the sweet shop, the manufacturing, but it all seemed too obvious. Then I remembered how we’d been told what life was like for a 10 year old in the 19th century. The man had said that the boys had to wear really itchy trousers. It had stayed with me, as if of all the things we’d learnt that day, itchy trousers were the most unpleasant feature of 19th century life. I felt so passionate about this torment, I instantly put pen to paper.
The next day, when our work had been marked, I received a house point from my teacher. That was the most significant symbol of good work that a 10 year old could get. Although she was giggling as she handed it to me. The following day my work was put up on the wall and other teachers were invited to read about the struggle of itchy trousers. They all laughed, as if they had no care at all for the suffering of those poor boys. My peers weren’t laughing. Why were the adults?
I wondered if one day I’d understand what was so funny. I re-read my work, but I couldn’t find anything amusing about it. Oh well, at least I didn’t have to wear itchy trousers. I was grateful for that.
© Lindsay Woodward 2021-04-21