Friday, July 13, 2007


Furrow posed the question of what entirely happy memory you would use for a Patronus spell, and I liked it so much I tagged myself.

Her snapshots were so vivid that I have had to shake my head vigorously in an effort not to just tell you which of my memories are most like hers. (Really! Go read them!) I thought I would borrow her format of choosing memories from different times in her life but I only got as far as childhood, so maybe I'll take this up again next week.

Even though it limits my choices, I decided not to write about how happy reading books made me, because I don't think remembering living in a fictional world would make a very strong Patronus. My most vivid real-world memory of pure happiness is the first day I spent at the School that Saved Me, which seems like a good Harry Potter choice.

This day was the day I visited my future school as part of the application process. I was in first grade, attending a local public school where my teacher worked hard to instill in me a sense of shame and isolation. My SSM visiting day erupted into this grey emotional landscape--a room full of happy kids my age, full of color and movement and friends. The girl who took me around was chosen because it was her birthday. Spending the day with me was a treat for the birthday girl! I couldn't believe it. I remember the teacher introducing us, and her showing me around the classroom, and the rest of the day was a wash of relief and delight, and I was filled with the sense that I was included and could unfold and move again, when school had become a place that shrank me down. I wanted to go back to SSM the next day, of course, and when I knew I would be leaving my public school to go there, I threw my escape from her in my teacher's face. And so I also learned the protective power of anger, which I think would be a good strengthener to a Patronus spell.

This one is a self-tagger, but I'd ask anyone who picks it up to link back to at least one of Furrow's posts.


(un)relaxeddad said...

I'll have to think about that one. Surely there's a time when I was.

niobe said...

I'm pretty sure I already said this over at Furrow's, but I like to repeat myself. Because original thinking is kinda tiring.

Though many good and even very good things have happened to me, I find it impossible to select a wholly happy memory. Every one is colored with a had-I-but-known-what-lay-in-wait-for-me aura that drains the happiness out, like holes in a sieve.

Which probably shows only that I'm depressed. But also makes it impossible to understand how Harry's thoughts of his dead parents (I'm going on Furrow's description because the book made little impression on me) could be a happy memory.

Furrow said...

This memory of escaping a horrible, soul-crushing place to arrive in a joyful, liberating place is very Potter-esque, indeed. Good one! What a wonderful thing that you did escape. I'm sure that many children are irretrievably lost in bad schools.

S. said...

It's true, it's hard to find a wholly happy memory--this one is actually a memory of happiness in contrast with misery. But the happiness itself was very real.

Furrow, since I have been a teacher and am still married to one, I know for certain that too many kids are lost that way.