Monday, June 11, 2012

May B. A Novel

Caroline Starr Rose, author of May B. A Novel, was a big fan of
the Little House books as a child. When she grew up and became a
teacher she wondered what life would have been like for children of
that time who would have struggled with the favored educational
techniques: memorization and recitation. Back then dyslexia had not
been discovered. Would they have been considered lazy or stupid, been
kept out of school? Her musings resulted in a truly fine work of
May is only twelve when her parents hire her out to live with
and help a couple in a soddy fifteen miles away. They need the
money. The wife, new to the hardships of prairie life, is bitterly
unhappy even though her husband does all he can to make things better
for her. May notices that she is withdrawing emotionally. One day
she rides off, leaving a note that she's taking the train home to
Ohio. Her husband leaves to find her. Neither returns.
May is in quite a predicament. She has no way of getting word
to her parents that she's been abandoned. There are no neighbors to
help. Although she rations them carefully, food and stove fuel are
running out. Wolves approach closer and closer. Then there is the
harsh reality of a prairie blizzard.
May's reflections are in free form poetry. Her details form
vivid pictures; her feelings come through loud and clear. Many of
these are about her previous schooling. Although she had to sit with
the littlest children, heard the teacher whisper that, "the girl's not
fit for learning," and was even sent home, she will not give up the
hope of mastering reading and even someday earning her teaching
On a personal note, I am proud that RSU 26's new alternate high school
program just had its first graduation. These fine students would have
slipped through the cracks in a more traditional setting. One is a
family's first high school graduate.
A great big shout out goes out to these pioneering graduates and their
proud families.
Julia Emily Hathaway

Sent from my iPod

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