Added: Delilah Berkley - Date: 29.12.2021 00:04 - Views: 38226 - Clicks: 8998
My mother said to me: "You must go to school, or they will lock up your father. The eldest was my sister, then me, one year behind her. But I was stronger than her. And naughtier. So my mother said: "You will be the one who goes to school, because at home you only make trouble.
She carried them around on her back, washed their nappies, wiped their noses and their little bottoms, and swept and cleaned the house. Everything had to be done by the daughter who was at home, because mothers went into the village to work for the gadjos, and only came back home at night. That was what our mother did, too. Our father went to make bricks. If there was no work, he would work for the gadjos for some food. We were very poor. In the morning, my mother woke me up: "Get up, Little Bighead, go down to the stream and have a wash.
That was where we went to wash, every morning and every night. At night, I would run down to the stream on both feet, but when I came back, I hopped on one foot.
I never had shoes, and so I wanted at least one of my feet to stay clean. Smacked bottom stories winter and summer we went barefoot. I only had one set of clothes, which my mother had begged from the gadjos. As for knickers and petticoats, we did not even know what they were.
I went to the stream and washed my feet and my face. My hair was full of feathers, because Romani beds were nothing but feathers and straw, which came out of the mattress and the dirty old quilt. I went to school. I had no bag, I had no readers, no pencil, no exercise book - nothing! I had never had anything of the kind. I went through the village, and the village was still sleeping. There was no one outside, only two or three gadjos going to the fields with their horses.
No one even looked at me, and it was as though I were not there at all. I knew where the school was, because when I used to go into the village with my mother, she said to me: "This is where you will go to school, so I will have some peace and quiet, Little Bighead!
I pushed hard to open the heavy school gates. It was dark and cold, and I was half-naked and barefoot. No one was there at all. Only one old gadjo, who looked at me and said: "What do you want here? Look at that skirt on her! Why haven't you combed your hair? Where's your bag? You have nothing, you don't even have a bag!
How will you study? The old man laughed, and he shoved me into a classroom. I sat in the front desk. I looked all around me. I was alone, all by my little self. The old gadjo started to sweep the floor. I just sat there, thinking to myself how I was going to be somebody! I would know everything. All knowledge would come into my head if I just sat in school, that was what I believed. Smacked bottom stories then I looked at my bare feet, and my heart sank within me.
How could a poor Romani girl become somebody? I closed my eyes, and saw myself in a pink satin dress, embroidered with golden roses. Then I believed again that I would be that clever woman who would open the path wide for Roma. Already as a little girl, I knew that we Roma were the last of the last. No one said a kind word to us. If I wanted to go out from the settlement, my mother said to me: "Don't you dare go into the village!
The other children will beat you up. It was half-past seven, and the bells rang in the church. One after another, the gadjo boys and girls came into my class. Their mothers brought them. Two or three mothers came into the classroom, and they put their little girls in the front desk. They looked askance at me.
But I stayed there sitting in the front desk, because I wanted to become clever. I was just waiting to become clever. The teacher still did not arrive. More and more gadjo boys and girls kept coming in. They were finely dressed, everyone had a bag, and the little girls had ribbons in their hair.
At long last, the teacher arrived. She saw me in the front desk. Then came the poorer ones, and the very back desk was the Romani one. I felt like an orphan. Why did I have to sit there all alone? It was hard for me, when there was not a single Romani child with me, and I was afraid. I would have felt stronger, if only someone would sit next to me. But I was alone, all by my little self.
The first day in school went by. I learnt nothing. None of that knowledge went into my head, the only thing that forced its way into my mind was how poor I was. When I arrived home, no one asked me: So how was school?
There isn't enough to buy bread, and you want a book from me! Just keep on going there, so that they don't take your father and lock him up. The next day, I washed my feet again, and I combed my hair and put on my old clothes and went to school. And that's how I went to school every day. A month went by, and the teacher did not ask me anything, but just looked to see that I was there. She did not know that I was listening to all that she said.
When she asked one of the other girls or boys, in my mind I said along with them what they were supposed to say. I liked doing maths. The seven-times table was my darling. At night, I was unable to fall asleep, for all the seven-times table dancing in my head. I raised my hand, and the teacher called on me: "Go on, count! Again, the teacher asked: "What do they cultivate in Hungary?Smacked bottom stories
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