This is the second post from the archives of Jennie Fitzkee, who with a career as a pre-school teacher for over thirty years, has some inspiring posts that reinforce that the ability to read and books are two of the best gifts we can give our children. On her blog she also shares wonderful posts about her family and will be sharing four of those with us in the coming weeks.
My Mother’s Fairy Tales by Jennie Fitzkee
My mother gave me her childhood book of fairy tales when my children were young. This wasn’t a book she had ever shown me, or my brother and sisters. I think it was my teaching and my newfound love of children’s literature that prompted her to give me the book.
I was thrilled and excited. I read many of the fairy tales, especially the ones I knew. I remember calling Mother and the conversation we had on the phone. It went something like this:
Me: “Mother, these fairy tales are terrible.”
Mother: “What do you mean?”
Me: “They’re violent.”
The silence was deafening. I could see the stiffening and the tension, and I wasn’t even there. I could see the eyes tightening and the chin rising, even though I wasn’t there.
My mother was a no-nonsense, tough woman. She always idolized her grandfather who was a coal miner from Wales. He came to America, made a fortune in mining in Pennsylvania, lost everything in the depression, and then built his fortune once again. It wasn’t the money, it was the grit her grandfather had that my mother admired.
Mother’s father, her beloved grandfather’s only son, was killed in a mining accident when he was in his 30’s. Mother’s mother (Lulu to me) practically fell apart and spent a year in Paris with her children to recover. That year, 1928, they lived in the same apartment building as the famous singer Maurice Chevalier, who often sang to my mother. She was eight years old.
A fortune was spent in only a year. My mother watched her mother in weakness. After that, my mother became a very strong woman. When my father, her husband, died as a young man, my mother was able to manage her four children with a positive presence and a stiff upper lip.
And that is why she bristled when I told her that her Grimm’s Fairy Tales were violent.
Cinderella. Well, in the original Grimm’s story, there is no Fairy Godmother. Instead there is a weeping willow tree by her mother’s grave, and birds. The birds get her the dress for the ball…which lasts for three days. They also pick out the lentils from the ashes for Cinderella so she can go to the ball.
The glass slipper. OMG. The evil stepmother tells the first daughter to chop off her toe, and the second daughter to cut off her heel in order to make the glass slipper fit. Of course the blood sends the Prince back to the house each time. When the Prince and Cinderella marry, the birds peck out the stepsisters’ eyeballs. Really.
Do you recognize many of these titles? “Little Red Cap” is the original “Little Red Riding Hood.” It has two different endings. I read this to the children at school last week.
Popular fairy tales are popular to their readers. In the days of the Brothers Grimm, children died, life was hard, disease and terrible working conditions were common. Hot water and a big meal was a luxury. Therefore, those stories were not scary or violent to their readers. Even into the early 1900’s.
Today, people think Disney movie adaptations are violent. If my children called me to tell me how violent Disney movies were, I would have been just like my mother; shocked and defensive, and bristling. Shielding children from what happens in life is not the way to go. Storytelling and books and fairy tales are a good thing.
I’m my mother’s daughter.
About Jennie Fitzkee
I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It’s the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That’s what I write about.
I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease’s bestselling book, “The Read-Aloud Handbook” because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.
Connect to Jennie
My thanks to Jennie for sharing this post from her archives… I remember reading the Little Match Girl and weeping buckets aged 7 … those fairy tales are not all Happy Ever After…..
What was the fairy story that you remember most?
If you would like to share your stories about family, including our fur babies.. then please take a look at the details.
Posts from Your Archives and the theme this time is all about family.
- Personal memories of childhood or teens that are still fresh in your mind.
- Family history, stories of your parents, grandparents and further back if you can.
- Fur family past and present.
- Favourite recipes.
- Memorable holidays.
- Places you have lived.
- Memorable homes you have lived in.
- Grandchildren tales.
- Any family related post – education, health, teen years, elderly care, lifestyle.
- Please remember that there are some younger readers who visit.
I think you get the idea.
The aim of this series is to showcase your blog and any creative work that you do from books, art, photography and crafts. You pick between one and four links to posts that you have written for your own blog from the day you started up to December 2018, and you simply send the link to those blogs to firstname.lastname@example.org
You have to do nothing more as I will capture the post and images from your blog and I will then post with full copyright to you.. with your creative work and your links to buy and to connect. I might sometimes need a little more information but I am quite resourceful in finding out everything I need.
So far in the Posts from Your Archives from September 2017, there have been over 700 posts from 200 + bloggers that have reached a different audience and encouraged more readers for their own blogs and current posts.
The only issue is the number of photographs and if there are more than five photographs in the post I will do a reblog rather than a separate post. (Media space)
Previous participants are more than welcome
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