Đoàn Thị Điểm
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Trang chủ Thursday, 24/08/2017 Email
Reminiscence about a school
Reminiscence about a school
-“Dad, you shall help me with this affair, standing up please and go to get the car, the picture is too big for the girls like us to carry by motorbike”.  
  
-“Which picture? If it is not able to carry the picture by motorbike, you can hire a taxi, why do you ask me?”
I pushed the glasses up to my forehead, looked at my daughter. After two years studying in France, this is the first time she returns home for summer vacation. She is very busy with her friends all day, always hurry to go somewhere, often talks on the phone, so my daughter and I spent very little time to talk with each other. If I want to talk with her or shout at her, then “Dady, please online”. 
-“Do you know? Mrs. Hien and the teachers invite us (the pupils of the first course of Doan Thi Diem School) to have meal. It is wonderful, isn’t it? We contribute money to buy a beautiful picture to offer the school, the picture is enframed carefully, but it is too big … please help me to carry it to the school – she winked at me and added – “You would have chance to meet with my beautiful teachers. They looks more beautiful than they were before, she chuckled…”   
The picture is really big, we were both busy ourselves to open the bonnet, upturn the chairs … for sometime we could close the car-door. My daughter remind me to follow traffic law by wearing the seat-belt, then she chattered: “Do you remember when I learned at the first grade? And when I learned at the second grade? someday when you picked me up at the school and took me home, it rained heavily, but we did not have a raincoat, Miss. Na gave me her white and red-dot raincoat….”. “Ah, I remembered that story, she told us that her house was near and she would like to go in the rain without a hat on…”. “Do you remember when I learned at the fourth grade and when I learned at the fifth grade?” I understand that for my daughter and her friends, childhood memories that they had during the time they learned at Doan Thi Diem School would be a pleasant, beautiful and serene memory that is always in their hearts all the life”.
Actually, as fathers and mothers, we found that Doan Thi Diem School has the special things and we learned the special experiences according to feeling of each person. At that time, some people asked my wife and me the reason why we sent my daughter to study at a private school not public school. My wife replied: “The teachers of Doan Thi Diem School love children very much”. I replied: “Pedagogical methods in this school is very effective, it seems not to be a routine”. One parent said “Children have time for both playing and learning”, and the other parent said: “they have chance to learn in bilingual environment and taught by foreign teachers” …, in a word, although the school had just been established, teachers and pupils worked and learned in the rent poor campus, it still had many special differences glistening in the picture of Hanoi primary educatdion at that time.     
“Do you remember the day that we had the Francofonie art performance in the Cultural Friendship Palace?” “I do not remember, at that time, every year you had the art performances, in the school, in the local district, in the events of Hanoi city and national level….Does any one among you become artist?” “Yes, Dang Khoa was successful in the Idol Program you know. And my school is not vocational art school.” “Ah, I remember that I had to go around the city to borrow a platinum artificial hair for you to play the role of a French old woman, and that woman leaned against a stick only to say a word “voila”. I said while was glancing at my daughter’s brown hair … “It was not that, the whole 15-minute play spoken in French, and actually the old woman was the main character. It was when I learned at the third grade”. I happened to remember the time when I went on business in France, I dropped in Toulouse to visit my daughter, and we both went for a walk around the square of Jan d’art Church. Sunshine became yellow on the top of the church; I heard the hesitant arcoordeon music vaguely from a distance. My daughter leaded me to the place of arcoordeon music. An old man, perhaps at the age of 80, was holding an old musical instrument and playing an old music under a tree at a roadside. The music instrument is red and very old, and the music is very low, I did not know whether it is due to the old music instrument or the bad health of the old man. The old man lean his bearded chin on the old music instrument, he sang in a low voice with the nearly toothless mouth, we could hear only small sounds, as if the old man was breathing very hard not singing. My daughter said “Dad, I give the old man some money”, and then she put small pennies in the ragged hat placed before him, then she blended down to the old instrumentalist and said something. The old man stopped playing string musical instrument, tried to listen and pressed some musical notes. My daughter shook her head and sang lowly a section for the old man to listen. Something like a smile appeared on the old man’s decrepit face then a melancholy tune that withers people’s heart resounded from the old string musical instrument. I was waiting for my daughter who passionately listened to the music. Just when the last musical notes finished, an old man sitting on the chair nearby asked my daughter “In the old days, my father used to sing the song to lull me and my younger brothers to sleep, you are foreigner and very young, why do you know this song?” My daughter said “My teachers sang this song for me when I learned French in Hanoi”. On the way to the fresh vegetables market, I asked my daughter “What song did you ask the old man to play music?”, she answered “This is an old song named “La complainte de la Butte”, on the whole “elegy of a courtesan” … at that time I inwardly thanked the teachers for teaching the children such beautiful cultures …
“Do you remember when I was at the fourth grade; the teachers took us to Ba Vi for camping?”
“Ah, I remember this story, the parent-teacher association assigned me to go with and support you and the teachers”  
…The teachers asked me to lead a group of pupils to go into the forest picking leaves to make suits for the performance of “Ecological fashion”. The children followed me along the trails in the forest.
They asked me “Do you know what this leaf is?”
I answered “dai bi leaf, its is very fragrant and used to treat flu ”
“Do you know what that leaf is?” 
“The leaf of bangtech (techtona) tree, it is also called the khop (dry dipterocarp) tree or bang sung tree”
“Why do people call it “the bangsung tree?”
“It’s wood is solid and light, not bloated when soaking in water so it is usually used to make gun-stock …”
“Do you know what this leaf is?” 
 “Stand still, do not touch it, it is han leaf, if you touch it you would be burned…” 
“Why so?, do you know?”
“The leaf has the small furs containing poison”
“Oh! Why does the leaf contain poison?”
“What leaf?” , “What leaf? It is used for what? Do you know?”
“Why do you know so many kinds of leaf?”
“I am a soldier, I spent ten years living in the forest and had chance to learn many useful things”
“Is there any tiger in this forest?”
“ In the old days there was, but there must be no tiger now, but you shall be beware of poisonous snakes” 
… A mountain of questions raised out for me and it seemed that the children were twice to three times crowded than the first group. I asked the teacher about that. She smiled and said: “We see that you know much about nature, we called more children for them to learn more from extracurricular activities” 
We stopped for a while on a smooth and green pasture. 
“Now I ask you a riddle: which leaf is the biggest?”
“Lotus leaf”, “Not right”, “almond leaf”, “Not right”, “and banana leaf” “Not right”… What leaf? What leaf? Do you know? Please tell us “It is flag” – I pointed at the national flag flying at the foot of the hill… the children burst out laughing: “It is right, we can make flags as big as we like”
“Now one more riddle for you: - which leaf is the most valuable?”
“Leaf of gold?” “It is also valuable but not the most” “the flag?”. “Yes, the national flag is really the most valuable, you are excellent”. Unexpectedly, a girl clear voice replied “Lung is the most valuable”. Afterward, I did not know who (a teacher, a parent or a pupil) spoke out such interesting ideal. 
We returned to the camp, suddenly we heard someone’s voice for help from the house on stills. I rushed out to the nearby bureau of public health, I found Hieu – classmate of my daughter lying on the bed, his eyes were as white as wax – he had just fallen down from the second floor to land. I asked the teachers and children to go out for a ventilated space and then tested eyes, head, backbone, legs, hands for Hieu according to the emergency measures I learned when I was a soldier – By grace of God there was nothing bad. The boy opened his eyes and looked at me … I showed my fingers before him, he counted with the voice louder and louder “Nine, ten…” “You try standing up, going straight along this line to me”. “Good! No problem, you lie down for a while then you could go out with your friends, the boy would become a parachute jumping soldier”. I stood up and was surprised when I saw about ten teachers standing near the door, smiling in tears. I usually meet such tears on the faces of the mothers looking after their sick children in Thuy Dien Children’s  Hospital.
 
We came to the spacious school with the modern architecture in My Dinh. No one was there at that time, so we temporally place the picture at a house of a parent nearby. Strangely, he immediately realized us and asked much about the teachers, parents and children learning A class at that time. He said “Someday I would gather the parents, and we would have chance to sit and talk with one another, I give you my phone-number”. I said “Great, we also gather in a close group of parents having children studied in Doan Thi Diem School” and I stood speechless: The school does not only bring knowledge, friendship, future to our children but also bring their parents friendship and happiness in the life.
Fifteen years passed. I sincerely send to Doan Thi Diem School and the teachers some reminisces replacing for our grateful words. We wish the human and cultural school develop more and more in the national education and be fresh forever in the hearts of children today and future. 
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