Show And Tell

My neighbour has the cutest little boy, Matthew, who is in Kindergarten at the local school. He is going back to school tomorrow and is really excited because tomorrow is his favourite day – Show & Tell.

Show & Tell usually consists of a group of children bringing something from home which they show the rest of the class. Sometimes the other kids ask questions about the item. Often it is passed around.

The more creative kids often break away from the showing a favourite toy or other item format and talk about holidays, sporting events, movies they’ve seen and so on. However, there are those who find the show format completely suits them. Like the boy in Nick’s Kindergarten class who brought the same item once a week for the entire year. It was a toy fire engine with an actual working siren. Every time the siren went off all the kids in the class screamed. It was hilarious. The teacher eventually banned that fire engine. I suspect she was tired of the screaming.

Matthew asked me if I had Show & Tell when I was at school.  I laughed at the memory.We had something called News Of My Life where once a week we had to stand in front of the class and regale them with a lively little anecdote. Most of the kids talked about their new kitten or how their front tooth had fallen out and there had been masses of blood. I’ll never forget the screams of horror when Stella McGregor passed around her front tooth with a bit of bloodied gum still attached to it. I thought Sister Benedicta was going to have one of her turns there and then. I was poised to run to the sick bay for her special pills.

One day when I was about seven, I got in trouble for the news of my life.

I realised at quite a young age that I observed things in the world differently to the other kids. I would notice weird things, quirky things that no one else did. And I would remember them quite vividly.

The troublesome news anecdote I related started off with me seeing a woman in the street who looked like my Auntie Nelly. My Aunt Nelly was an extremely striking woman but even though it was the early 1970s, dressed in a very matronly way as if she was still trapped in the 1950s.

She usually wore white blouses with mother-of-pearl buttons done right up to her throat with a beige cardigan and an even beiger full skirt with a belted waist, finished with tan brogues. No paisley or flares or platform shoes for my Aunt Nelly.

So I saw this woman whom I thought at first was my Aunt Nelly only she was slighter, younger and her skirt while full, was black and silky looking.

The woman moved along the street lightly. I thought she was floating. I was sure she must have been a dancer.

It was a very windy day, the kind of day you curse if you happen to be wearing a skirt.

The woman walked along and an enormous gust of wind blew up behind her. Her skirt billowed outward and upward. She didn’t grab at it in a panic, dropping her bags and staggering into the road like so many others did. She leaned sideways, bending her knees and swung her arm behind her, pulling her skirt to her and straightening it in one fluid movement as if she was an elegant, beautiful treble clef.

She walked along, nonplussed. A player in a Minuet of Winds.

I told this story to the class. Sister Benedicta denounced me as a naughty, shameful girl looking at women’s underwear. She made me say four Our Fathers and two Hail Marys at the Naughty Desk. I joined Stella McGregor who was in disgrace yet again; this time for bringing in a glass jar full of spit.

Stella paused mid Our Father.

‘Did you see her knickers?’ she asked.

‘Yes,’ I said. ‘They were red.’

We both nodded, knowing it was fitting somehow that the lady caught in the wind should have red knickers. We smiled at the thought as we went back to our penance.

21 thoughts on “Show And Tell

  1. Ahhhh…great story Sel! Here’s to red undies, don’t they always make us feel special. Im guessing they did for this woman too. WHat an intriguing tale. Sorry “teach” didn’t see it that way. 😦


    PS: I loved your lotto comment. Hope you stop by and read my reply when you have time. 🙂


  2. Oh love your story, and the exchange between you and Stella was priceless! 🙂

    You think kids today will get into trouble if they say they see a woman’s underwear. I don’t have kids, but I think the teachers may still be mad. We may not have progressed much in the last 30 years.


  3. A wonderful story with an almost hidden theme. Red, the wind, elegance in contrast to the nuns. A fabulous short story with such subtle control.


  4. A friend who went to a Catholic school told me of the day the nuns who taught them got new, modern habits. The kids in his class were nonplussed, and spent most of the day staring at Sister Barbara’s legs.

    She noticed; smiled indulgently and said:

    ‘What did you expect? Wheels?’


  5. Selma, very funny and well writtshe was an elegant, Love this- beautiful treble clef.en as usual. Only you could have thought of that.


  6. I am trying very hard to not spray my monitor with coffee… again. This was wonderful, uplifting (pun intended, although far-reaching), and still possessing the usual Selma Flair for detail (note: treble clef)

    Brilliant, m’dear. Three cheers for red knickers!


  7. I love it, and as always, in awe at your abilities.

    True story. When I was little we went to a fancy restaurant for something special, and I had lobster. LOBSTER! Can you imagine? For a little girl of about 5?

    I brought the shell home because I wanted to take it to show and tell. And was so so so so disgusted, several days later, when it was judged (by my parents) to be unfit for taking to show and tell because of the smell.



  8. Oh Selma what a tight tale you weaved! I, along with the others, wildly admire your Treble Clef use. It told so much in such few words; I strive for that kind of clarity.


  9. Awwww. Show and Tell. I used to have Show & Tell and so did my son.

    How funny that YOU got into trouble for telling the story about wind blowing up a ladies skirt. I also find it funny that she was wearing red underneath, how appropriate! HA!


  10. Great story.
    I don’t think we ever had show and tell. I was so shy I am 90 per cent sure that I would have died from having to stand in front of the class and say something.


  11. You told that story so well. I remember show and tell. i also did not see the world as others did. I once told about the fish that got a way, and I said it was a whale because that is what my dad told me. I got in trouble for not telling the truth. There were no whales in Lake Michigan.


    Do you know I have never been able to wear red underwear? I am sure it’s because of the nuns and their emphasis on the shameful. It’s funny how these things stay with us well into adulthood. Coming over to see you in a minute!

    You may be right. We have progressed in some ways but many of the old taboos remain. It’s odd, isn’t it?

    Even though I haven’t kept in touch with Stella I remember her fondly. She was a true character – just one of those people who make you laugh. I often hope her life turned out well.

    What would I do without you? You imbue my silly little tales with such meaning. I am really grateful!

    I LOVE THAT!!! That is so funny. It is just what a nun would say. I know I’ve said it before, but you have the best stories!

    Thanks, hon. You know me – always honing in on the unusual image. I just can’t help myself.

    Red knickers rule. They have a power all of their own. hehehe

    But if you had been Stella McGregor you would have brought that lobster shell in regardless….LOL. Sadly, I can’t eat lobster (shellfish allergy) but I have heard it is delicious!

    You also possess that clarity. You are a brilliant writer and I am delighted you liked that image. Cheers, hon.

    It’s hilarious, isn’t it? It’s almost like she knew I was going to come along. I used to love Show & Tell when my son was little too. The kids were so cute!

    You are far too kind to me. Thanks so much, Linda!!!

    It actually is hard as a little kid to get up and speak in front of the class. Some kids just hate it. One of my friends used to wet herself with fear. It’s not for everyone.

    How nice of you to stop by. What a charming tale about the whale in Lake Michigan. I love that. It would actually make a great children’s book. It’s a shame you got in trouble just for having a good imagination. Thanks so much for your comment!

    I love your name. So glad you liked the story. Nice to meet you!


  13. lol – and now that’s more than people wear to the store…

    Loved the “She walked along, nonplussed. A player in a Minuet of Winds.” line. Awesome!


  14. PAISLEY:
    It is a funny story, I think. It was great to remember it. I think I gave the nuns a bit of a hard time. LOL.

    Oh, absolutely. I have often seen people for whom underwear is optional. *yikes*. What a crazy world….


  15. Red underwear. I used to be pretty superstitious. It goes like this: I had a great audition one afternoon, and since I happened to be wearing red panties under my clothes, I decided I’d ALWAYS(when auditioning), wear red panties.
    Funny thing is, it seemed to work, as I usually got cast!!
    Great writing, Selma. Loved the “player in a Minuet of winds……”


  16. LISA:
    That is so funny. Every single actor I know is superstitious like that. It’s not always underwear, sometimes it can be a necklace or a lucky charm they have to carry. Superstition must be good for the psyche, otherwise you wouldn’t keep getting the parts. Hehe.


  17. Ah, a shame that you didn’t have a digicam back then to capture the true poetry in motion. Here’s a toast to her red panties.


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