Friday, 1 October 2010

How I Learned About Votes for Women from Walt Disney

I realize more and more that the seeds of learning are planted at a very young age and some of our ideas come from the most unlikely sources.

This morning, on my way to work, I was singing (to myself) about the suffragettes -

We're clearly soldiers in petticoats
Dauntless crusaders for woman's votes
Though we adore men individually
We agree that as a group they're rather stupid!

Cast off the shackles of yesterday!
Shoulder to shoulder into the fray!
Sylvia Pankhurst
Our daughters' daughters will adore us
And they'll sing in grateful chorus
"Well done, Sister Suffragettes!"

From Kensington to Billingsgate
One hears the restless cries!
From every corner of the land
"Womankind, arise!"
Political equality and equal rights with men!
Take heart for Mrs. Pankhurst has been clapped in irons again!

No more the meek and mild subservients we!
We're fighting for our rights, militantly!
Never you fear!

Music and lyrics: Richard and Robert B. Sherman

Where did this come from? MARY POPPINS! I adored that movie when I was a kid and knew (and still know) most the songs by heart. Some things never leave us.

I had no idea what was going on with Mrs. Banks (Glynis Johns) but asked my aunt who explained to me about the suffragette movement and Mrs. Pankhurst (1882-1960).

At the time, of course, I wasn’t told about hunger strikes, forced feeding, prison and all that these women went through, but the seed was planted and as I got older I learned more.

There is a web site devoted totally to Sylvia Pankhurst and is worth checking out.

Sylvia Pankhurst

I recently purchased the book ‘Sylvia Pankhurst, Artist and Crusader’. She had a promising art career in front of her and was an accomplished painter but gave it all up for her various causes.

Isn’t it strange the way we learn things as children? A snippet here, a sentence there, and these thoughts and words remain with us and encourage us to explore further as we become adults.

So, thank you Mr. Disney for bringing the women's movement to my attention at an early age.  That was just supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

On another subject of early learning.....

The first sentence I learned in French was:

Je parle le français mais pas couramment (I speak French but not fluently).

Of course this was a bit optimistic but still, I’ve never forgotten.

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  1. one can never over emphasize the impact of early learning; I found that when children are very small and young their minds are like sponges and just absorb an enormous amount of information, and that was just from my non-academic, non-scientific (but parenting) p.o.v.

  2. Very true. I wish I had spoken more French when I was young. Much harder to pick it up now!

  3. I've never actually seen Mary Poppins. My friend told me it's better than The Sound of Music. I'm not sure if that's even possible, but I would probably watch the movie soon.

    I am Fickle Cattle.

  4. Another delightful post, thank you! And got a kick out of your first sentence in French. I speak cocktail-party Russian and begin a conversation with (phonetic, since I don't have Cyrillic on my keyboard) Ya govoryou parusky nor orchen plorka ee myedlyena (I speak Russian but very poorly and slowly). My Russian gets better wine wine. ;-D

  5. Thanks for the comment Gail! When we get together you can speak Russian and I'll speak French - as soon as we polish off a bottle of wine that is :)

  6. Fickle Cattle - Both movies are great. Am sure you will enjoy Mary Poppins and learn your history at the same time :)

  7. I speak English, suffered through Spanish and loved Biblical Greek. How wonderful to speak another language, even a little.

    Love Mary Poppins. I saw it several times, but don't remember the song you quoted. I'll have to watch it again, I guess!

  8. I would love to learn Spanish - and Biblical Greek is very impressive!!!