- In the journal I didn’t keep
- The ice earthworm
- When hope and history don’t rhyme
- The Present ISSUE
- November 2018
- Rebirth of the Nation
- The Tragedy of Ted Cruz
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In the journal I didn’t keep
This essay belongs to an accumulation of Lore Segal’s work, to become printed by Melville House.
I wasn’t keeping a diary within the fifth form at Guildford Senior High School the entire year my fountain pen went missing. It had been the this past year of The Second World War, and also to take into account occasions a lot of decades later would be to write anthropologically about people doing what individuals do inside a altered vocabulary. Exist readers with whom I ought to explain the fountain pen? It had been the precursor from the ballpoint and also the felt-tip. You dipped the nib into an inkwell and pumped the interior tube filled with just as much ink as it may hold, and also got ink in your fingertips. Very little kids, we put together small squares of cotton to create pen wipers to provide as Gifts.
Two Ink Pens, a collage by Marzia Colonna © The artist. Courtesy Portland Gallery, London
The tallest girl within the class—call her Regina—was taller by two heads, maybe, compared to next tallest, which could have been Patsy, our fifth-form tennis star, or my mate, Ann. Regina was taller, and she or he was older by almost 2 yrs, getting been stored back twice—was it due to a natural incapacity or because she never did her homework? You never know that which was eating her. Today we’d search for “
dysfunction” in her own background. She was very tall and slender, an attractive girl who’d acquired a big clique of wardrobe hangers-on and terrorized the 5th form. Walking past me she’d snap her fingers against my brow the clique viewed and grinned.
Internalizing a typical thought that people didn’t as if you should you understood the solutions and also got the prizes at prize-giving would be a better bet than thinking it had been my being 1 of 2 class refugee women, that we could do nothing at all about. Things I could and did do was stop doing my homework. It puzzled Miss Stone, the teacher, who loved me. Was that why Regina and her gang hated me? Anyway, shedding my grades switched out to not perform a little bit of good. Regina was towering over me, messed using the things on my small desk, fingered my fountain pen, pressed my notebook using the crimson cover to the floor and didn’t get it. The clique chuckled.
How could it have been that my pal Ann, the daughter of Dr. and woman Hurstwood, ongoing to complete her homework and obtain prizes at prize-giving, yet she was voted mind girl?
S o I’d this concept, that we conveyed to Ann, who included me to hold it to overlook Gent, the headmistress.
Miss Gent ended up being a lady in her own thirties, a scholar and Episcopalian. Her perfectly round face shone just like a higher polish her person was round, using the legs attached each and every side in a manner that gave her a waddling walk, falling in one feet to the other. I figured she was intriguing and preferred her notice.
Miss Gent’s study what food was in the finish from the passage towards the teachers’ common room. I’ve got a memory of the window around the right and Miss Gent, behind her desk, hearing my task for making the planet a much better place. It had been an agenda that will make all kinds of sense within the Sixties: The 5th form, based on this plan of action, would organize itself right into a Friendship Society. People would swear friendship each to every and every to any or all all unkindness ended up being to be outlawed.
Miss Gent heard me out. When my enthusiasm had exhausted itself, she requested me whether I foresaw no difficulties. No! I stated, no, because all difficulties could have been eliminated through the original oath of friendship!
My forecasted Friendship Society was aborted through the event indicated above, the loss—the thievery, when i believed, when i knew—of my fountain pen. It absolutely was a Christmas give me from Ann’s mother, Lady Hurstwood. I walked towards the front from the room, was before Miss Stone’s desk, and informed her, having a significant turn to where Regina sitting at her desk, that my fountain pen didn’t have.
Miss Stone would be a small, lumpy lady in her own mid-thirties with untidy dark hair and luxurious eyes. Miss Stone was what I wouldn’t have known at that time to an intellectual. It had been she who’d introduced Ann and me to Jane Austen, making no make an effort to hide the truth that i was her favorite pupils. In my experience she assigned the writing of the essay from the Robert Bridges quotation: “
I too will something make and pleasure within the making.” And she or he spoken to all of us about getting “
a feeling of proportion.”
Miss Stone clapped her hands. There adopted a substantial silence. Miss Stone requested the category whether anybody saw Lore’s fountain pen. Blue, could it have been? Yes, blue. She walked beside me to my desk making me remove every object not once but two times. She’d me turn my school satchel thoroughly. Might I’ve left the pen in your own home, where I resided with Miss Ellis and Miss Wallace, my seniors promote-moms? Could I’ve dropped it between Miss Ellis’s door and also the gate through which your day women joined the playground and entered towards the school’s back entrance? No, because here was my crimson notebook by which I’d taken notes, with my fountain pen, that morning. Might the fountain pen have fallen to the floor? The women in the desks near my desk all looked under their desks.
There is a fountain pen on Regina’s desk, however that was her fountain pen, stated Regina.
I stated, “
Mine was blue.”
Regina’s fountain pen seemed to be blue.
Mine,” I stated, “
had a clip with for you to clip it for your shirt pocket.”
So had Regina’s fountain pen. Didn’t all fountain pens have this type of clip?
T he next days and also the following week stay in my recollection as intensely, excruciatingly, continuously uncomfortable. I had been embarrassed in the fuss I had been creating. I wanted the fountain pen to hell, and that i wanted to get it back. I wanted I’d never stated anything, and that i wanted revenge against individuals who’d bullied me and chuckled.
Miss Ellis was requested in the future in and sitting in Miss Gent’s study with Miss Gent and Miss Stone. Miss Ellis perfectly appreciated the fountain pen, which may have been blue. Lady Hurstwood, arrived at on the phone, testified that they had given us a blue fountain pen at Christmas. Unlike Ann and that i, who have been day women, Regina was certainly one of Guildford High School’s boarders. Whomever was accountable for her was contacted or said to be contacted and can or might possibly not have responded. Finally Regina was called and spent a while in Miss Gent’s study. When she came back towards the classroom, she contacted my desk, was over me, and laid the fountain pen on my small desk.
She stated, “
You might have that one. They will get me a different one.”
All right,” I stated. I recall not searching into her face.
All right, everyone,” Miss Stone stated. “
Now let’s return to work.”
I checked out nowhere pen which had a clip that to clip it for your shirt pocket. It was not my pen. I acquired up and walked to overlook Stone’s desk and stated, “
It’s not my pen.”
Miss Stone stated in my experience, “
Go. And. Sit. Lower.”
W hen, at any given time within the 1890s, my great-grandfather Benedik moved the household from the small Hungarian village to Vienna, the main city from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, it had been thought safest to depart Michel, the youngest child, temporarily behind. The 3 earliest women, Berta, Frieda, and Rosa who had been to get my grandmother, appreciated their mother’s terrible grief and distress in the separation from her baby. In Vienna, the household resided in 2 large rooms throughout the years the daddy established themself running a business. I’ve got a yellowing photograph of the mustachioed man standing in of his wine shop. Plus they sent for little Michel.
The blissful reunion from the mother together with her child isn’t what went down. Berta, Frieda, and Rosa observed their mother’s dislike—a physical distaste for that child from whom she’d been made to separate. They often times needed to intervene to safeguard the young boy from his mother’s eagerness, irritation, and rage—from her cruelty. They avoided her treating the small boy’s chilblains with water which was near to boiling. But my grandmother appreciated taking her little brother towards the nearby Prater—Vienna’s permanent fun fair, using its famous Riesenrad—and her mother going after them, weeping, having a scarf to repair round the little boy’s throat.
It wasn’t an infrequent event, later, within the Hitler period, for moms and dads in order to save their children’s lives by delivering them overseas or farming them to Aryan promote parents. The reunions following the war were sometimes difficult and bitter.
We could dare to appear to my fountain pen story to throw light?
T he pen Regina laid on my small desk when she came back from Miss Gent’s study didn’t seem like my pen. It’d the disagreeable appearance of a factor I would not choose to touch. What had happened—happened to it—happened in my experience, had connected to the object, and misshaped it into something alien. It was and not the object that were an essential pleasure that i can own, and that i was up, the bloodstream rising into my mind, and walked to overlook Stone’s desk and stated, “
It’s not my pen,” and she or he explained to visit and sit lower.
I requested to determine Miss Gent in her own study. I informed her which i didn’t think it was my fountain pen. I didn’t consider Miss Gent’s face around the far side from the desk, so as not to determine in her own look the look from the nuisance that they should be thinking me. Miss Gent stated that in almost any situation I ought to keep your fountain pen. She stated that part of the board of governors were built with a spare fountain pen he would give Regina.
In the finish from the school year Miss Gent left Guildford Senior High School so we got another headmistress. Ann stated that Miss Gent and Miss Stone had moved into a condo together.
T he war was over. After my 3 years in the College based in london, I became a member of my loved ones in tobago, but that’s another story and ends with this immigrating towards the U . s . States and achieving naturalized New Yorkers.
In 1964 I printed my first novel. I authored to Ann in England, and she or he found me Miss Stone and Miss Gent’s new address. These were residing in another city. The next day the writer sent me my author’s copies I packed one and required it towards the publish office to mail to overlook Stone. Irrrve never been told by her.
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More from Lore Groszmann Segal:
The ice earthworm
When hope and history don’t rhyme
The Present ISSUE
Rebirth of the Nation
The Tragedy of Ted Cruz
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