Saturday, November 21, 2009

H-E-double ones and the tsarina

This continues NaBloPoMo: a daily post of stories of my life - 33 years in 30 days. The tenth instalment is here.

The year I turned eleven, I had the worst teacher imaginable.  He made my life a horrible place to be.  Myself and one other student in the class were his examples and he made sure we knew it.  I've written about him before, so I'm not going to do so again.  I've given him enough power over my life.  He did teach me one good thing -- how to throw a football with the correct spiral -- so I guess it wasn't all bad.

That year, there was a light in my miserable existence.  That light was Social Studies.  My Grade 5 teacher Mrs Gellner came into our Grade 6 class every other day and taught us about history.  More specifically, Russian history.

A few times a week, I learned about tsars and tsarinas.  I learned about the magic of a political time where -- although most of the country suffered -- the royal family flourished and then was snuffed out.  It started my intense passion about crimes and violence and true stories of both.  I started collecting books on Anastasia the tsar's daughter who got away and created stories in my head of how horrible it must have been.  I read all I could about Anna Anderson who claimed to be the duchess herself.*   I was amazed by the bravery this young girl showed at living through the worst things imaginable and coming out the other side to show her persecutors they could not end her.

Now, of course, I look at this and think there was perhaps a correlation between my miserable school year and how intensely I looked towards Anastasia.  However, to this day, I am still enthralled by the story.  It could be my historian genes.

*This was later proved to be untrue, but I wish it had been.


  1. Actually, Anastasia never survived. Recent DNA research seems to place her among the dead. It is too bad, I agree.

    And whatever you have done to your blog site, I hate it.

  2. My grade 6 teacher used to pick his nose and wipe it on the lockers. It was sweet.

    P.S. Your Dad's awesome.

  3. P.S. My Dad is an asshole. I know the layout sucks. Hence the next post.


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