When I was a kid, my mum used to allow me to buy one book every month (and this ‘ritual’ went on till my late teenage years). I remember waiting eagerly for the first Sunday of every month when I could pick a book of my choice – and eventually, ended up having a prized collection of novels. The best part: the entire collection was handed over to my daughter on one of her birthdays as a special gift from the maternal grandparents. And it gives me immense satisfaction to see my daughter treasure each of those books, as if they’ve always belonged to her.
The series occupying pride of place right at the front of her bookshelf is Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers collection. The lives of Darrell Rivers and her best friend Sally Hope, the timid Mary-Lou and the malicious Gwendoline; the way they gear up for the annual school pantomime, play lacrosse matches and have swimming lessons and most importantly, grow up to be responsible and well-meaning adults fascinated me back then and now it’s my daughter’s turn.
In the words of Miss Grayling, the headmistress (I know this piece by heart now): “I want you all to listen to me for a minute or two. One day you will leave this school and go out into the world as young women. You should take with you eager minds, kind hearts and a will to help. You should take with you a good understanding of many things and a willingness to accept responsibility, and show yourselves as women to be loved and trusted. All these things you will be able to learn at Malory Towers – if you will.
I do not count as our successes those who have good scholarships and passed exams, though these are good things to do. I count as our successes those who learn to be good-hearted and kind, sensible and trustable, good, sound women the world can lean on. Our failures are those who do not learn these things in the years they are here…
Some of you will find it easy to learn these things, others will find it hard… But, easy or hard, they must be learnt if you are to be happy after you leave here, and if you are to bring happiness to others.”
I wish the same for you, my daughter. And I’ll do my best to make this learning process as easy and as enjoyable for you as possible. Lots of love, now and forever.