My Harry Potter Years by Carolyn MacLean
Quiz by: rmd

"My Harry Potter Years"
by Carolyn MacLean

When I was a child, I went to a private, girls boarding school in England.

My two years in boarding school shaped me. I was the only American child in the preparatory division of a Church of England school, Truro High School for Girls, in Cornwall, England.

It was very different from my home and school in Los Angeles.

The school was cold and dark, built of granite, with narrow windy staircases of creaky, well-worn wooden steps.

Besides standard classes, we studied French, Latin, English, History, and Divinity.

Gym was field hockey on the cold, sometimes snowy, hockey pitch behind the school, where we also picked wildflowers from the meadow for our botany reports.

I remember one teacher in particular, as our teacher entered the classroom we ________ stood to greet her with a chorus of "Good morning, Ms. Dunstead." She would return our greeting, "Good morning, girls. You may sit down."

She was Australian, and taught us words such as kookaburra and corroborate, because they had Australian origins.

The boarding house was behind the school. We slept in drafty dorms of ten girls each.

The women who worked in the kitchen were fascinating to me. They spoke an odd dialect called Cornish. It, it was pirate speak. It was very rough and guttural. For example, they would say, "Aarrgh. Good morning to ya."

Everyday we wore drab brown uniforms; brown oxford shoes, brown socks, brown skirt, brown blazer, a cream-colored shirt with a yellow and brown striped tie, and a funny little brown felt cap that looked like an upside-down soup bowl.

I learned a lot of lessons in boarding school. I learned to be self-reliant, adaptable, and discreet.

The Harry Potter magic of my years in this classic English boarding school was in the shaping of my personality as I learned to fit in as a foreigner in a very different English-speaking land.
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