Monday, January 4, 2016


Do you ever have trouble memorizing something?  Here's how my friend Marianne did it.

April 20

In 5th grade I had to recite a long poem from our poetry book in front of the class. I knew the poem and loved it, but I just couldn't recite it. I was a musician, though, and I set the words to music, to a popular tune, and memorized it that way, as a song. 

When Sister Clement called me up to the front of the class, I went up proudly, ready to go. Unfortunately, I kept hearing the tune and tapping my foot, Sister looked at me strangely, and asked, "Marianne, what is the matter?" 

"Nothing, Sister." 

"Do you know your poem?" 

"Yes, Sister, I do." 

"Well, why aren't you reciting it?" 

"Well, Sister, it is a long poem, and I had trouble with it, so I made a song out of it and now I can't say it, only sing it." 

The boys started making faces and jokes. Because I had no self-control in that area I started laughing at their faces. Sister Clement got out her clicker and had the class in order quickly.

"Marianne, you may begin singing when you have their attention."

This time, the boys looked horrified, and everyone just stared, hoping they wouldn't be called next. I remembered my jaunty tune, started clapping my hands and tapping my foot to the beat. I sang my poem. Sister looked at me in amazement. 

"Marianne, that was a lot of work. Can you do that again?" 

"Yes, I can!" 

"Yes, what?" 

"Yes, Sister, I can!" 

The boys wanted me to sing it again. I sang, and the boys clapped to the beat. I still remember the first 8 lines of that poem and the tune. I can sing it any time!


  1. What a clever way to accomplish this! I really enjoy reading such encouraging words. Way to go Marianne!

  2. I do love your sharing your friend Marianne's adventures and memories with us! Her method is so reminiscent of my own many years of poetry-memorizing---I'd walk and recite, with the book open to the proper page and clasped to my bosom, ready for a peek when I needed a prompt, as I circled round and round block after block of our neighborhood. I STILL reel off long essays and poems and sonnets at the sink, driving along, or simply to the Grandchildren after bedtime story and before prayers. I don't think The Cremation of Sam McGee is quite the bedtime soother.

    And did you know that almost any verse of Dear Emily Dickinson can be sung to "The Yellow Rose of Texas?" Oh, Dear. Dishwashing and house-straightening today will be one long sing-along.

    stay well and warm, on this FIRST work (non-work!!) day of this NEW YEAR!


  3. Happy New Year, Kathy! Oh, what a wonderful story! I would have loved to have seen the clapping, tapping and singing the poem. That's a great idea too. Thanks for popping in to see me and are you enjoying retirement now?
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  4. what wonderful story, I was there in that room as she sang the poem... lovely...


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