Tuesday 8 November 2011

I want to tell you all a story 'bout a Harper Valley widowed wife...

I went to a meeting last week of my kids' school's Friends group - not strictly a PTA since there are no teachers involved, but as near as makes no difference.

Other Half disparagingly calls us Do Gooders, or the Moral Mothers of Meersbrook (the area of Sheffield where we live. There are a couple of dads involved too.)

It's a small group of parents who organise events to raise additional funds for school, and I have recently felt that I should show willing and get involved. This was a decision I began to regret, as the tortuous process of decision-making by committee ground on...

The obvious point to note is that, apart from the fact that we have all spawned/adopted kids, we have nothing else in common, and wildly differing ideas of what needs to be done, and how.

Let me run a couple of "issues" by you good people.

Should the treat from Santa at the Christmas Fair be;
a) chocolate coins (cheap, buy it in bulk on sale or return, OK for most though admittedly not every child)
b) a book of poetry?
The Collected Works of Ezra Pound for my 4 year old? Why, thank you, Santa!

We intend to ask parents to put the £2 for their child's Christmas disco ticket in an envelope with said child's name and class on the front. Is this;
a) a basic and reasonable request, achievable by most?
b) an complex task demonstrating middle-class bias by assuming all households have envelopes?

I kid you not.

So while I slowly lost not only the will to be involved, but to live, I amused myself by singing "Harper Valley PTA" in my head. I have loved this 1968 country classic by Jeannie C. Riley since I was a kid, though back then, I hadn't a clue what the lyrics were about.

For those unfamiliar with the song, it tells the story of a teenage daughter coming home from school with a letter summoning her cool young mini-skirted single mum to attend the PTA meeting, because they disapprove of her fast'n'loose ways -"It's been reported you've been drinking and a-running round with men, and going wild."

Mum attends the meeting, and socks it to them by pointing out that they are no better behaved than her - one's knocked up his secretary, several are drinkers, one's the local exhibitionist, one keeps harrassing her for a date.

So, I mused to myself, looking around the assembled Do Gooders - who's the secret drinker?
Who's having an affair?
Who wants to get it on with whom?
Who's the exhibitionist? (Err, that would be me.)

1960s mini dress (vintage fair, £8), 1970s scarf (flea market, £1), Jones lace-up boots (Ebay), hoop earrings (charity shop, 99p), wig (can't remember how much, but cheap, from Ebay). Pissing about instead of doing the housework - priceless.

Well, this is just a little Peyton Place, and you're all Harper Valley hypocrites.

Sing it, Jeannie!


Vix said...

Ooooh Curtise, you look like butter wouldn't melt with that groovy mini and wig! You'd cause a stir at the PTA turning up like that.
What a bloody nightmare. I'd just loose my rag confronted with all that dithering.
I remember a friend's school discussing whether to introduce cricket to the school curriculum and it being dismissed as being "too elitist". WTF? Even the street kids in India play it. xxxxxxxxx

Krista said...

Oh you sexy thang!!!!!!! I do hope you wore that lil number to the meeting I'm sure they were all thinking, what's her story. I love you in blue and a mini MEOW!!!!!!

How annoying really people you don't wanna get me started on this topic. I feel for ya Mama good thing your imagination rocks and you were able to amuse yo'self!

Lakota [Faith Hope and Charity Shopping] said...

A wig! What fun, I used to have several but they got lost in a move. I have a bizarre fondness left over from childhood for Jolene by Dolly Parton, so although my laptop is refusing to give me any sound I really want to check out 'Harper Valley PTA'. Sounds hilarious, and timely as I'm going to the PTA this evening (even though we're going to have moved around the time of the Christmas Fair. I hope).

I'm a big fan of poetry, as is boy1, but I imagine it's not what every child is longing for from Santa!

And great dress - almost forgot!

Rose&Bird said...

Great outfit - hope you wore it to the meeting!

Sounds like a nightmare - you want to help but too much beaureaucrecy (sp) as with all these things. Hope something gets sorted out in time!

Helga said...

OMG look at your fabulousness! fast and loose,yeah,that's how I like 'em!!
Gawd I hate things like that,I would just have to start some fisticuffs,I think.How very tedious.Do these people actually have lives?! Ugh,beaurocracy.UGH!
I also hope you rocked up like that,or maybe you could consider it for next time,and tote along a bottle of joy!
Ezra Pound?! For goodness sake!

Loo xx from Jumbles and Pompoms said...

Oh good grief, I could never be bothered with the PTA at my daughter's school - all the most tedious mums involved in that one. Not for me.

Love the dress.

Vintage Coconut said...

That is such a cute dress. (Looks good on you too!)
I imagine if people didn't have envelopes.. they could maybe go to a $ store and buy some. *lol*
Or maybe that would be too much trouble.

Nelly said...

Well that gave me a giggle and I always loved that song too.

mispapelicos said...

You make me smile. I love your outfit and keep:
So while I slowly lost not only the will to be involved, but to live...

lucy joy said...

I'm a PTA rebel too. Someone's gotta add some fireworks to the otherwise very sedate proceedings. I fancy donning a wig and vintage dress at the next meeting, which is bound to be a riot "Stall allocation at the Christmas fair".
I don't think I'd look as good as you though!

lucy joy said...

I'm a PTA rebel too. Someone's gotta add some fireworks to the otherwise very sedate proceedings. I fancy donning a wig and vintage dress at the next meeting, which is bound to be a riot "Stall allocation at the Christmas fair".
I don't think I'd look as good as you though!

Alison Cross said...

I used to be Chairman of our Parent Teacher Council and I know EXACTLY the sort of thing that you are talking about!

I say YES to chocolate coins (with another fun thing kept in reserve of similar value for a kid who can't have chocolate) and YES to £2. And yes to envelopes.

And yes, I think you're the exhibitionist lol!

BTW - google The Mum's Song on youtube - you'll understand it COMPLETELY!

Ali x

Scarlett said...

I love that song, my dad was a huge country music fan and used to play that tune. You look amazing in the mini dress - i with vix you should cause a stir by wearing it to the next meeting ;o) Scarlett x

Pull Your Socks Up! said...

I have never seen/heard this song before but I think I'll be singing it all the way to the school drop-off tomorrow - heeeeeeeeeeeeee!! It's simply glorious and kick-ass - just like you gorgeous woman!!!! I used to crack open about three bottles of wine at every meeting I was last involved with - for two years in a row. Everything just seemed to make so much more sense after that!!! Damn you are so awesome and I would def go the frock, boots and wig option you hot tamale mama!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh if only I could be there with you - we could make up some total fecking bullshit topics - mind you looks like the school's friend's group has that well in hand - go girrrrrrrrrrrrrrl xoxoxoxooxoxox

Kitty said...

Oh Lordy, what a bloody nightmare! I wonder what wierd and wonderful ideas they might have come up with if you'd worn this ensemble?? LOL!

Mimi and Tilly said...

That was ruddy fantastic! I've not heard that song before but love it! As a former teacher (13 years), I can deeply relate to your feelings around the insanity that reigns when groups of people get together to make decisions about something not very important. Obviously the Ezra Pound poetry book is a total winner, and a letter home asking for money to be placed in a mug, pan or colander is what's called for here. Em x

Unknown said...

Hi! sorry i have been absent from the comments , gee! i did not recognize you! Awwwwww! people you should see the people i work with, sometimes you just want to say go f.....or i imagine them naked then they look completly ridiculous! I never, never attended PTA, i would have killed someone....

lots of love Ariane xxxx

Unknown said...

That song was a fave in my house as I was growing up too - my Mum love it and sang it all the time!

But of course, we were elitist middle class radio owners!

That frock is AWFUL and you should send it to me immediately! You look FABULOUS in it and those boots are quite saucy!

Love! Sarah xxx

Melanie said...

Again, this time a blond!! You are definitely ready to sock it to them! I think I like the blond better than the darker wigs. This was a favourite song that we workshopped in a drama class once - THAT was fun!! Nancy Sinatra boots I see...!

Dawn said...

You are too funny! I didn't know you then but I glad I know you now, tramp...hahaha. dawn suitcase vignettes xo