Words and Image: Trevor Romain, Author and Illustrator
ABOUT TREVOR ROMAIN
Trevor Romain has been entertaining, educating, and inspiring both children and adults with his bestselling
books for more than 30 years. Achievements include his award- winning animation series, and noteable success as a keynote speaker and storyteller. Being South-African born and American by choice, Trevor has written more than 50 books that have sold more than a million copies worldwide and published in 23 different languages. Thousands of educators have used Trevor’s materials to help kids who are facing some difficult situations such as bullying, divorce, deployment, grief/trauma, homework, to name a few. He has travelled to schools, hospitals, orphanages, refugee camps, and military bases worldwide, delivering his unique heartfelt self-messages of resilience, compassion and encouraging kids to safely express themselves.
It was a typical morning on a normal day at primary school, in Johannesburg – the weather though, a bit nippy.
I warmed my school uniform on the Capil heater. (Who knew that asbestos was toxic? Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why I’m ADD.) I ate my ProNutro, or it might have been Jungle Oats, or Weetbix, and drank my milk from the bottle that miraculously appeared at the front door every morning.
While I was having breakfast we listened to Springbok Radio. At the time the news was normally followed by the weather report.
Stuck in the back of my little brainI can clearly remember the way in which the weather was presented. The announcer would say, “From Port Alfred to Port St. Johns, partly cloudy and mild to warm … .”
And on he went, from region to region. No temperatures, but descriptions of the weather. (I actually think we were still doing imperial measurements when I was in primary school. The switch to the metric system was really confusing.)
On normal days, on the way to school I would probably did at least one of the following:
Kicked rocks all the way to school and scuffed my Bata Toughees. Teased at least three dogs behind gates.
Jumped over a fence and borrowed mulberry leaves, in summer, for my silkworms, arriving at school with mulberry stains around my mouth.
Picked crab apples and launched them at my brother Steve or at any other kids in range.
When I got to school, I either…
Played stingers with a tennis ball trying to sting the crap out of the kids who were playing. (After all, the game was called stingers.)
Copied Caren, Pamela or Moira’s homework.
Played marbles. “Shy here a four man.” I have no idea what ‘shy’ means in that context.
Then the bell rang and I probably: participated in assembly while sitting on the hall floor or standing outside in the quadrangle.
Heard morning announcements.
Said the Lord’s Prayer.
Pulled a few pigtails.
Sang All things bright and beautiful. Stung kids’ necks in front of me with an elastic band.
Heard Psalm 23.
Found out if I was in the soccer team. Found out that I was NOT in the Ter
Horst cricket team. (I still have no idea what Ter Horst means.)
Was told about the school fete.
Got totally bored and: vaguely heard the updates about the school play, the big walk, scholar patrol news and a stern warning concerning the lady down the road who took exception to boys stealing mulberry leaves.
Stole a ‘Pikkie’ condensed milk from the haversack of the guy sitting in front of me.
Swapped my cold toasted cheese sarmie for a bag of Simba salt and vinegar chips.
Ate a sausage roll from the tuck shop that was so dry I almost choked on the flaky, pastry part.
Played conkers with an acorn tied to a shoestring. Made Scooby-doos as keyrings, instead of doing litter patrol.
Accidentally-on-purpose let my yoyo go while doing an ‘Around The World’ manoeuvre, hitting some poor, unsuspecting ‘pipi-joller’ on the back of the head. (Why did the Coke yoyos always work better than the Fanta ones?)
I must say education was the last thing on my mind during my primary school days. Fun, girls, fun, art class, fun, music, fun, mischief, and so on.
One day we had a test at school. We were told it was a very important test and we were to take it very seriously, and not mess around. “I’m talking to you, Mr. Romain.”
I took the test very seriously (and because I am not the brightest spark) I made sure I copied all the answers very carefully from the guy who sat next to me.
We never got the results of the test but I did notice that, for a while, the teachers spoke to me like I was a tad slow.
I discovered that the test was an IQ one. Yes, an IQ test.
I, in all my wisdom, was so petrified of failing the test that I had copied all the answers.
The problem was that I had copied from the dumbest guy in class, bless his heart.
Guess who was the dumb guy? Me.