Sunday, February 27, 2011


Many years ago, way back in history, when all there was to drink was nothing but cups 'o tea when I was in grade school and Jr. High, I attended a couple of small country schools. Every year, the art teacher shared by these two schools would organize a huge pageant. Both schools referred to these pageants as "Carnations". Like the flower. In the school year books, and on one of the programs I held on to for years, the event was always "The Carnation".

One year, the theme was "Japan". My brothers wore karate uniforms, and my step-mother made my sister and I colorful kimonoes. She used flour powdered over cold cream to give Lalani and I white faces, after having used a bit of tape to give our eyes an upward slant. She finished our faces with fire engine red lipstick and heavy eyeliner. Not one of our fellow students recognised us! We learned several songs in Japanese... (I can still sing one of them!) and small skits. We learned "chinese jump rope", done with bamboo poles.

Another year, at the second school, we had a 1920's theme "Carnation". Lalani and I dressed as flappers, and learned the Charleston! This was the year that two of my younger brothers were class "Favorites". Brother Ricky in his shiney hot pink nylon shirt was paired with Tammie Frazier... he was the shortest boy in the class and she was the tallest girl. (School kids have the meanest sense of humor.)

It wasn't until after I was grown and thought back on the amazing job that the teacher did with the "Carnation"'s that it dawned on me that this was the annual even where the "King and Queen" of the school was crowned. 

I don't know when, in the long ago histories of either school, that "Coronation" was mangled into "Carnation" and STAYED mangled for all of the generations to follow. Why did no one ever correct the spelling, and pronunciation?
While I haven't been back to either school in more than 30 years, I wouldn't be at all surprised to learn that the annual "Carnation" event continues.

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