School Days, Reminiscences of Sherri Matthews

School Days, Reminiscences of Sherri Matthews

Welcome to the School Days, Reminiscences series in which my champion bloggers and authors share reminiscences of their school days. It’s my small way of thanking them for their support and of letting you know about their services and publications.

This week, I am pleased to introduce Sherri Matthews, memoir writer, essayist, short story writer and blogger. It seems Sherri and I have been friends forever. We love to hang out (online) at each other’s places as time permits and are always understanding when life gets in the way. We know we will pick up where we left off.  Sherri’s Summerhouse is always open to visitors and she has been one of the most active in raising awareness of SMAG (Society of Mutual Appreciation and Gratitude) and I love that, after four years since its inception, she still refers to it in her comments.

Before we begin the interview, I’ll allow Sherri to tell you a little of herself:

Sherri once worked in the medical and legal fields. When she got laid off, she praised the heavens for the chance, at last, to write her book. Six years later, her memoir, Stranger In A White Dress, is in final edits. Blogging at her Summerhouse along the way, Sherri also writes from her life as a Brit mum raising her children in California and as advocate for her youngest, diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at 18. Sherri also shares snippets of life with her dear old jailbird dad. Today, Sherri lives in England with her hubby, Aspie, two black cats and a grumpy Bunny Nutkins. She walks, takes photos and finds joy creating a garden full of bees and butterflies with her dad’s words, ‘Keep smiling, Kid’, ringing in her ears. Especially when the robin sings.

Sherri Matthews reminiscences of school days

Welcome, Sherri.

Let’s talk school. First, could you tell us where you attended school?

England, first in Surrey, then at ten moved to Suffolk.

Did you attend a government, private or independent school?

Government.

What is the highest level of education you achieved?

I left high school at 16 with enough ‘O’ Level qualifications to get a semi-decent first job. Buying a car was my priority, thanks to living miles from town. And yes, even turning down the opportunity to go on to University, fully funded by the Government (I know, I know…kick me, someone, please…). But at 19 and wanting better prospects, I returned to full time education and was accepted for a full time, year-long course, at my local college, attaining an RSA (Royal Society of Arts) Diploma as a Personal Assistant with business and legal studies.

What work or profession did you choose after school and was there anything in school that influenced this choice?

Sherri Matthews reminiscences of school days

At first thought, nothing at school influenced me, finding rather than choosing my job as a Postal Officer, which I enjoyed. Had my own till and everything. I was always drawn to both the medical and legal profession, but it was my diploma that influenced my eventual chosen profession of paralegal when I moved to California. But now you ask, Norah, I always secretly flirted with the idea of becoming a ‘real’ writer…you know, in that far off distant realm of pipe dreams. This, thanks to Mrs Anderson’s English Literature class so on reflection, school held more influence for me than I realised…

What is your earliest memory of school?

Feeling homesick and counting the seconds to the last bell and the school bus ride home. And calling my teacher ‘Mummy’ by mistake, going bright red when she smiled and gently corrected me. She had white, fluffy hair I recall, strangely and rather amusingly reminding me of Rupert Bear.

What memories do you have of learning to read?

Oh, I loved to read! I had a lot of Ladybird early reader Janet and John books at home and was able to read by the time I started primary school. I adored all of Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five books, especially Five Go To Treasure Island, a wonderful ripping adventure. I loved the tomboy Georgina. I had the A A Milne paperback book set of Winnie The Pooh and felt very grown up reading Now We Are Six when I was…well…six. Most of my reading, I recall, was in bed waiting for my dad to come home from work.

What memories do you have of learning to write?

My earliest memories are of scribbling illegible ‘notes’ in the margin of my reading books and getting told off by Mum. At school, I practised letters in a lined exercise book, graduating to daily ‘Morning News’ about the night before, mine usually describing eating baked beans on toast and watching Jackanory. Later, we learnt how to write italics with ink filled fountain pens, beautiful flowing cursive I would not recognise as my own today. Being a leftie, I always ended up with ink smudges on my hand and arm.

What do you remember about math classes?

Sherri Matthews reminiscences of school days

Not liking it, except when my maths teacher turned up in old tweeds, a projector and slides of his safaris in Africa. No wonder I didn’t learn much. Yet mental arithmetic I’ve used in several jobs, so I must have learned something. But algebra and the like? Forget it. The best maths lesson that actually helped me in life came from the headmistress of my village primary school in Suffolk. At the end of each day, our class stood up reciting by rote until we knew by heart the entire Times Table. We grumbled, but it’s ingrained to this day.

What was your favourite subject?

Creative writing, biology, music, athletics and gymnastics. And country dancing, because we girls got to hold hands with the boys.

 What did you like best about school?

Sherri Matthews reminiscences of school days

The last bell. I jest…or do I? In primary school, I loved being Milk Monitor, when every child was given a third of a pint of milk in a bottle for mid-morning break. I got to poke the straw in the foil cap and hand them out. I loved quiet reading and writing time and holiday times like Christmas when we got to make homemade gifts. By high school, I loved meeting my friends, having fun being silly. I met my then best friend playing flute in the school orchestra. And drama was fun, though I scraped my shin falling off the stage once and still have the scar.

What did you like least about school?

I enjoyed my Food and Nutrition class, but each week I had to write an in-depth essay and bring all the ingredients to school. I then had to travel home with my cooked dishes. Not easy, since I travelled 20 miles each way by two buses, and often with no spare seat on the public bus. By the time I got home, I was sick to my stomach of the smell of my food, but my Mum and brother couldn’t wait for ‘tea’. I also didn’t like the girl gang headed up by a really mean girl nicknamed, Noddy.

How do you think schools have changed since your school days?

Because my children were raised and educated mostly in California, I am more familiar with the system as it was then, though students here seem now to have the same more relaxed relationship with their teachers as there, from what I have observed. The teachers in my day were much stricter. I got my knuckles rapped with a wooden ruler once and it hurt. No more of that, thank goodness. I think there’s more interaction today in class, fostering more interest from the students instead of the boredom of rote learning of my day.

What do you think schools (in general) do well?

I was struck by the way my children’s elementary classes in California fostered a climate of being kind and thoughtful to others, of being awarded for not just academic progress, but for good citizenship. I was fully hands-on as a volunteer, but I never saw my parents at school, except for sport’s day. Nobody noticed when I cried at school, but today I think there is more awareness generally for struggling children, though there is still a great need for improvement. My youngest slipped through the cracks and wasn’t diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome until eighteen.

How do you think schools could be improved?

Sherri Matthews - how schools could be improved

Which leads me to…less focus on those dreaded OFSTED ratings (Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills) and more on the individual.  The expectation that all students should be good at all subjects is something I think needs to go. More emphasis on each student’s talents and strengths in smaller classrooms and rapport building between the teachers, student and parent is needed, fostering mutual respect. My youngest and middle boy finished their schooling years in England at a high OFSTED rated school, yet despite my frequent calls asking for support for my youngest, we got none.

thank you for your participation

Thank you for sharing your reminiscences of school and thoughts about education in general, Sherri. It’s been a pleasure to have you here. I enjoyed reading about your own school experiences and agree with your suggestions for improving schools through smaller classes and better relationships. It is disappointing to know that your own daughter was one of those who ‘slipped through the cracks’.

Catch up with Sherri Matthews on her blog

A View from My Summerhouse

Or connect with her on social media

Facebook Author Page: A View from My Summerhouse

Twitter: @WriterSherri

LinkedIn: Sherri Matthews

Blurb for Sherri Matthew’s soon-to-be-published memoir Stranger in a White Dress

‘We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned,
so as to have the life that is waiting for us.’
~E. M. Forster~

Set against the backdrop of the late 1970s, the story of a chance meeting one summer’s night between two eighteen year olds unfolds: Sherri, an English girl living in rural Suffolk, and Jonathan (Jon), an American G. I. from California newly posted to a USAF base nearby.

They fall in love fast, but Sherri, delighted to show off her homeland to this “new boy”,  soon discovers that although growing up thousands of miles apart, they share dark similarities, which quickly threaten to unravel their relationship.

Their mothers divorced from alcoholic fathers, both were raised by abusive step-fathers.  Jon’s increasing drug use and resulting paranoia clash with Sherri’s insecurities as hopes of “fixing” him and of the stable family life she dreams of slip away.

Los Angeles and lust; obsession and rage; passion and the power of love: theirs is a love affair defined by break-ups and make-ups, and then a shattering revelation explodes into this already volatile mix, altering the course of both their lives profoundly and forever.

A tale of darkest tragedy, yet dotted with moments of hilarity and at times the utterly absurd, this is a story of two young people who refuse to give up, believing their love will overcome all.

Not until decades after their chance meeting, and during a return trip to Los Angeles in 2013, does Sherri discover that Jon’s last wish has been granted.

It’s then that she knows the time has come to tell her story.

♦♦♦

Other publications by Sherri Matthews

Sherri Matthews - writing

You can find a list of where Sherri has been published in magazines and online here.

Her writing also appears in these anthologies:

The Congress of Rough Writers: Flash Fiction Anthology Vol. 1

Lady By The River: Stories of Perseverance

Slices of Life: An Anthology of Selected Non-Fiction Short Stories

Heart Whispers: A Poetry Anthology

If you missed previous reminiscences, check them out here:

Charli Mills

Sally Cronin

Anne Goodwin

Geoff Le Pard

Hugh Roberts

Debby Gies

Pauline King

JulesPaige

D. Avery

Christy Birmingham

Miriam Hurdle

Robbie Cheadle

Marsha Ingrao

Ritu Bhathal

Joy Lennick

Darlene Foster

Susan Scott

Barbara Vitelli

Look for future interviews in this series to be posted on Sunday evenings AEST.

Coming soon:

Mabel Kwong

Chelsea Owens

Pete Springer

Carol Taylor

Thank you blog post

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your comments. Please share your thoughts.

185 thoughts on “School Days, Reminiscences of Sherri Matthews

  1. Pingback: School Days, Reminiscences of Pamela Wight | Norah Colvin

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  3. Pingback: School Days, Reminiscences of Chelsea Owens | Norah Colvin

  4. Prior...

    enjoyed getting to know more about Sherri – sorry am late, I was away –
    and this was my favorite part – when asked her favorite subject – sherri replied:

    “Creative writing, biology, music, athletics and gymnastics. And country dancing, because we girls got to hold hands with the boys.”
    ahh – this is the layered and culture rich Sherri I know and love – 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply
  5. Pingback: School Days, Reminiscences of Mabel Kwong | Norah Colvin

  6. roughwighting

    Wow. I feel like I know you in many ways, Sherri, even though I don’t at all. Your memoir sounds fascinating – it will be on my list of must-reads. I like how open you are in the interview of your childhood and school, and then your children’s experiences in CA. My children were raised in CA too, and for the most part we had good success with the school system. But it’s inexcusable that your youngest wasn’t diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome until eighteen. It’s because of blogs like this, Norah, that education will continue to improve.

    Liked by 4 people

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    1. Norah Post author

      I think you and Sherri have much in common, Pam, and I have no doubt that her memoir will make interesting reading. I keep hopeful that education will improve, Pam, not just for some, but for all. We need to keep promoting better practice.

      Liked by 4 people

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    2. Sherri Matthews

      Hi Pam, and how great is it that we both raised our children in CA?! I’m so glad to connect with you here and at the Summerhouse. I’m glad you had a mostly good experience too.My youngest being missed with ASD is still a hard pill to swallow, however. Both in CA and England. It has improved somewhat, so I believe, with ASD traits being picked at younger ages, but it still has a long way to go with so little funding and support to help, at least here in the UK. I do know that if my youngest had had that support, the school experience would have been very different and much more positive. Thank you so much for your interest in my memoir, I’m thrilled you want to read it! Lovely to chat with you, Pam! 🙂

      Liked by 4 people

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  7. OIKOS™-Publishing

    Wonderful reminiscences! Thank you for posting, Norah! I always getting a little bit sad, thinking back on my own experiences. More and more i think the German education system isnt not really made for building a community of freedom. There are too many influmences from the past, from “Prussia”. 😉 Michael

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    1. Norah Post author

      I’m sorry that thinking about your school days makes you sad, Michael. If you’d like to join in with sharing them in this series, if it’s not too painful, you are welcome. Let me know and I’ll send you an email.

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    2. Sherri Matthews

      Hi Michael, thank you so much for reading and commenting. I’m so sorry, however, to hear of your sad school memories. But like Norah, I am very glad to hear that university was much better, in profound ways by the sounds of it 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

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  8. Anne Goodwin (Annecdotist)

    Good to see you here, Sherri, and congratulations on nearing the finishing post with your memoir. Gosh, you must’ve been exhausted as a little girl travelling twenty miles back and forth to school. I also read the companion piece over at your Summerhouse and totally sympathise about those needlework classes. Glad it didn’t put you off.

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks for your lovely comment, Anne. Twenty miles back and forth to school, or work, is a long way for anyone, especially a young child. Sherri, did you travel on a school bus? Did any friends travel with you? It sounds lonesome.

      Liked by 2 people

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      1. Sherri Matthews

        Hi Norah and Anne, re the school bus, I did take on in primary school but with my little brother and only for a short time. It wasn’t until middle school when I was 11 or so and upwards that I had to travel all that way on 2 buses for 5 years, but with a group of school friends from surrounding villages doing the same thing, so it wasn’t too bad. I did find it tiring though and I got so sick of buses that I vowed to learn to drive and get a car as soon as I could…and that’s exactly what I did, at 17 🙂

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        1. Norah Post author

          My bus ride to college, at age 17, was at least 90 minutes each way (slower depending on traffic). Such a waste of time. I couldn’t read as it made me feel sick. I felt sick enough with the awful petrol fumes back then. They’re not so bad now. Fortunately, my aunt talked my parents into allowing me to flat and I moved in with some other girls living 2 minutes walk from college. That was such an improvement. I couldn’t afford a car until I started teaching three years later. 🙂
          I’m pleased you had friends with you on your long bus trip. That at least would have reduced the pain a little, if only a fraction.

          Liked by 1 person

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          1. Sherri Matthews

            Oh that sounds awful, Norah. Soooo long and I know what you mean about feeling sick if you read. I’m the same. So glad it worked out much better with your flat share. How great to be able to walk and so close! When I bought my car at 18 I was in utter heaven. Oh the freedom! It was old and a rust heap of a Mini ( so cheap!!) that leaked everytime it rained – so a lot – but I loved it!! Yes, having friends helped…but still. sounds like you and I both are not at all keen on buses thanks to those early and unpleasant memories! 😉

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            1. Norah Post author

              Did you give your car a name, Sherri? I didn’t get my first car until I was 20. It was old and rusty too, but I loved the independence it gave me. I called ‘him’ Ziggy, short for Ziegfried, but I have no idea why. 😂

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              1. Sherri Matthews

                Hi Norah…apologies for my once again late replies here…another week got my by the…well, you know…arrgh! But…yes, I did, it was called Tevi (actually, it was my friend’s dad who named it that thanks to the letters from it’s number plate!). I love Ziggy! Like you, I adored the independence of having my own car. I mention it’s ‘backstory’ briefly in my memoir… 😉 Now I shall always smile thinking of you and I driving around in our youth in our old and rusty but oh so beloved Ziggy and Tevi 🙂 ❤

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    2. Sherri Matthews

      Hi Anne, great to see you too and thanks for reading here and at the Summerhouse and your well wishes on the memoir. Getting the last of the edits finished…getting there! Hope all is well with you, am well overdue with blog rounds, but look forward to catching up soon. As for the bus…I see Norah has asked me about that so will reply there to both!

      Liked by 2 people

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  9. Jacqui Murray

    I’m with you, Sherri, about life getting in the way of writing. I’ve had any number of jobs I would never quit but cheered when they ended (“praised to the heavens”) because now I could write more.

    I enjoyed getting to know you!

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
  10. Sherri Matthews

    Oh Norah, you are truly amazing…wow, the way you put your posts together, so professional and beautifully presented. As I read through, I couldn’t believe those quotes were mine lol! I thought, did I actually write that?!! I’ve never seen anything of mine presented in such a way, I feel like I’ve gone to the top of the class with every gold star out there! Thank you so much for featuring me today, and all the amazing comments have encouraged me beyond words. I’m beyond thrilled that your readers, some new and several I’ve known a long while too and so great to see all the lovely smiling faces and great encouragement for my memoir too. It’s a wonderful opportunity for each of us featured to share our heartfelt thoughts about our school days and what we think needs to improve. Even for us non-educators. Yet, Norah, as you have taught me and so many others, learning is life long and progressive, a mind set of a continuous flow of new ideas and not getting stuck and goes way beyond the classroom. You exemplify the true educator, with your passion, heart and kindness. And you’re so darn skilled at presentation, too! It’s my absolute pleasure to know you, lovely friend. The kid in me is skipping home today with a huge smile…today was a great day in the classroom down under for me! SMAG rules!!!! 😀 ❤ 😀 xxx

    Liked by 3 people

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    1. Norah Post author

      What a delightful response, Sherri. It was my pleasure to host you on my blog. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your reminiscences and I’m pleased that you enjoyed the experience and are getting a lot of kudos from the comments. And then you’ve returned some to me also. Thank you, we are sharing a smile. That’s what friends are for. SMAG 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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      1. Sherri Matthews

        You epitomise the meaning of SMAG and friendship, dear Norah. It was a bright, sunny day yesterday outside, but your beautiful presentation brought sunshine to my heart and has stayed ever since. And I meant to say too, how very much I love the beautiful rose! What a gorgeous touch for all your guests. The post is what you make of it with your great questions and all the different responses and interacting with the comments too, sharing stories of our school years from across the globe and different eras. Fantastic, I love this kind of interaction! We certainly are sharing a smile. That’s what SMAG is all about, right? Loved every minute of it…thanks again, so much, Norah! 🙂 ❤

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        1. Norah Post author

          Thank you, Sherri, for your beautiful comment that has also brought sunshine to my day. Yes, that’s definitely what SMAG is all about. I love being a part of this wonderful generous community. 🌻

          Liked by 1 person

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  11. Pingback: School’s Out But I’m In The Classroom Down Under | A View From My Summerhouse

  12. emmasouthlondon

    Such an interesting post – I’ve enjoyed Sherri’s writing for a long time, and agree with her thoughts about school and inclusion. Great to know that Sherri’s originally from Surrey, near West Sussex .
    Emma 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Sherri Matthews

      Hi Emma! How lovely to see you again, I so enjoy our chats and great to see you around the blogosphere. I’m hanging in there at the Summerhouse while I ready my book 🙂 West Sussex has a big part in my life both from my childhood and today…we are closer than we realised! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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      1. Emma, West Sussex

        Hi again Sherri,
        Gosh it’s good to hear from you – been a long time and I’ve now moved from South London to West Sussex, and after three years of full on work am taking a bit of a breather! Will be good to be in touch again! I hope you’re enjoying summer – best wishes to you, and speak soon, Emma x.

        Liked by 2 people

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        1. Sherri Matthews

          Likewise, dear Emma! It has been too long, and I see you are no longer Emmasouthlondon 😉 So glad to hear you’re having a breather and I hope you are very happy and settled in your new place. Thank you, and you have a lovely summer too. Do keep in touch, for sure we’ll speak soon! Hugs, Sherri :=) x

          Liked by 2 people

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  13. Ritu

    What wonderful reminiscences!!!!
    I agree with concentrating on what a child has strengths in!
    On and I remember being milk monitor! We had the best biscuits too!!!

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply
    1. Sherri Matthews

      Hi Ritu and thanks so much! Ha…yes, I loved being milk monitor…don’t remember any biscuits though, sadly! I do remember being offered extra milk at the end of the day if there were any bottles left, but made the mistake of taking one only once: it had gone off left out in the warm all day…yuck!

      Liked by 1 person

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      1. Norah Post author

        Milk in the sun was a problem for us in Australia, Sherri. Even at morning tea time the milk was hot. Turned me off drinking milk for life. (Unless there was a whole lot of Milo in it! 😁)

        Liked by 1 person

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          1. Norah Post author

            Oh, is Milo just an Aussie thing? It’s a delicious crunchy chocolatey sugary additive for flavouring milk. Also delicious eaten straight from the can. Of course, in our health-conscious era, it has now had its sugar content reduced. 🙂

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  14. petespringerauthor

    Thank you for an interesting interview as always, Norah. As a former teacher of 31 years, I want Shari to know I was called mom hundreds of times. I even recall being called grandma once. (Hey, let’s not get carried away here. LOL) Consequently, that is the title of my book (They Call Me Mom). Some times kids caught themselves and had the same reaction as you did (embarrassed), but many kept on going on autopilot without noticing. Ha-ha! As a teacher, I considered being called mom the ultimate compliment, (even if it was said unintentionally) and I never made them feel bad if they did.

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. Sherri Matthews

      Hi again Pete, thanks so much for reading and what a great comment! Now I think about it, I do remember seeing your book title over at Sally’s…and I love that you also got called grandma!!! I think it’s lovely that you took it as a compliment, your students obviously felt very comfortable with you. I think of my ‘Rupert Bear’ lookalike teacher warmly, so she must have done the same. So important in those early years 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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    1. Sherri Matthews

      Thank you greatly, Jennie. I have never understood why so much emphasis has traditionally stressed the importance of being a good ‘all rounder’. How many of us in life are like that, by a long stretch? It sets the child up for poor self esteem I think. Not good!

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  15. dgkaye

    Loved, loved this! What an entertaining post Sherrey. Loved learning a little more of your young past and it seems you were a little shining star ever since your milk monitoring days, lol. Loved the images with captions style of this too Norah! ❤ Hugs girls. xoxo

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. Sherri Matthews

      So glad you enjoyed it, Deb, thanks so much! Haha…you’re so funny…’little shining star’ lol! 😀 Norah has done a fantastic presentation, as she always does. I’ve never seen captions of mine quoted on photos before…as I told her in my comment below, I feel like today I’ve gone to the top of the class just for showing up! Hugs back, Deb! 😀 ❤ 🙂 xoxo

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            1. Norah Post author

              Thank you, Debby. Actually, looking back at some of the earlier interviews, including yours, I didn’t use so many images. It’s obviously something I developed as I got into the swing of it. I’m sorry I didn’t do more for yours. Please forgive me. 💖 Next time! 🙂

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              1. dgkaye

                Omg Norah, pleaseeeeeeeee, every interview was executed beautifully. Nothing wrong with a different twist on each one. And it’s natural for us to come across new ideas in the midst of a project. Keep it up! ❤

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  16. TanGental

    Many similarities and milk monitor! You were a star obviously. I never made it that high up. I was allowed, being big for my age, to carry the crates in to the classroom but Alison Randell put the straws in. Me jealous? After 56 years? Too bloody right. And yes the requirement to learn the times tables stays with me as a tool used constantly to this day. And lookign forward to the memoir!

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. Sherri Matthews

      Geoff, you crack me up, so funny. I don’t know how I got to be milk monitor, must have bribed the boy in charge at the time who punched my brother by telling him I would tell the head. Alison Randell has a lot to answer for. But what a great idea for your next novel… I’m thinking psychological thriller? I can smell the revenge as sour as off milk from here. Haha..yep, those times tables did the trick, didn’t they? Thanks so much, Geoff, getting closer!!

      Liked by 1 person

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    2. Norah Post author

      Oh dear, the injustices of life, Geoff. No wonder you went into law. 🙂
      Thank you for reading and commenting on Sherri’s interview. I think many of us are looking forward to reading her memoir.

      Liked by 1 person

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  17. Bette A. Stevens

    Enjoyed learning more about Sherri on your blog today, Norah. 🙂 Sherri, I’m following you and look forward to reading your upcoming book. As a retired teacher (4th grade in Lancaster, CA and 6,7. 8 ESL teacher in Lompoc, CA, I completely agree with your thoughts on improving the education system. Delighted to hear that you volunteered in your own children’s classrooms. I would add involving parent volunteers in the classroom to your list. I found them to be an invaluable asset to teacher and students.

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. Sherri Matthews

      Hi Bette, and such a pleasure to meet you, thank you so much for the follow, I saw your name over at the Summerhouse! I’m always thrilled to hear from a ‘fellow’ Californian (it’s in my blood, my children all dual US/UK citizens so I stake my claim!) and I’ve been to Lompoc. We lived on the Central Coast, a few hours north 🙂 I found the CA school system to be generally wonderful, and yes, you’re right about including parent volunteering. I had no idea it existed until I lived there and thoroughly enjoyed my years getting involved. There’s no doubt that fostering a good rapport and often friendship with your childrens’ teachers through volunteering in and outside the classroom brings great benefits. It’s great to hear how positive it is for teachers, too! I loved those years and am so grateful for them. Thank you for being one of those wonderful teachers in California:-)

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    2. Norah Post author

      I’m pleased you enjoyed meeting, Sherri, Bette, and that you have now followed her. You won’t be disappointed. I would also add parent volunteers to the list of desirable additions to the classroom. I made as much use of parent volunteers as they were willing to give. It allowed us to do so much more and make the learning much more personalised. 🙂

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      1. Sherri Matthews

        Aww thanks so much, Norah. It’s so lovely reading your and Bette’s comments about parent volunteers. Makes me feel even more glad I did it. I was very fortunate to be in the position to be available in the day throughout my childrens’ school years and wanted so much to ‘do my part’. I had no idea how much volunteering would be encouraged. I loved it! 🙂

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            1. Norah Post author

              I’m pleased, Sherri. I know my parent volunteers got as much out of the experience as they put into it as well. They said they always felt good when they left. What more could I have asked?

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  18. thecontentedcrafter

    I am delighted to see your memoir is in its final stages Sherri. And it is so good to see you here on Norah’s series. I’m wondering though if I have lost you from my blog list as I haven’t seen a post from you in ages and sometimes WordPress hiccups and someone falls off……. Have you been publishing posts regularly?

    Reading your thoughts here I think maybe the greatest advantage you have from your schooldays is having experienced first hand schooling systems in two different countries. When we know what the differences are the picture is widened and you picked out the aspects of kindness to others and good citizenship which I have not come across being referred to before and which explains a lot in the differences between the general attitudes of people from both countries – which I have experienced. I am so in agreement on the dreadful ‘one size fits all’ educational standards and am hoping to live to see it go in the rubbish bin where it belongs (in this country at least). So nice to see you here dear Sherri. Thank you Norah 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. Sherri Matthews

      Thank you so much, dear Pauline, always such a pleasure to chat with you, a delight. Yes, the Summerhouse is still going, just! I have mostly been reblogging guest posts as part of Sally Cronin’s archive memoir posts for four weeks, and the odd post here and there, but I suspect I’ve dropped off quite a few WP blog lists. You haven’t missed much. My visits have been poor too, as I’m still putting the finishing touches on the memoir as priority. Surprising how long it all takes, but it’s getting there! And I read your comment with great interest…I was struck deeply by the good citizenship aspects in CA. I would like to think it’s something we do more here in the UK now. Oh me too, ‘one size fits all’ is dreadful and utterly archaic not to mention demeaning. So good to see your lovely smile again…what fun to meet up in Australia with Norah! Wish school could have always been like this! 🙂

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    2. Norah Post author

      I’m pleased you enjoyed Sherri’s reminiscences, Pauline and that you’ve had an opportunity to reconnect here. Kindness and good citizenship – great pickup, Pauline. We definitely need more of those and less of the ‘one size fits all’ approach! To the rubbish bin with it!

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  19. robbiesinspiration

    I found this post about Sherri’s schooling life fascinating, Norah. I have read some of her posts on her blog and have read a bit about her father. It is even more intriguing for me that she grew up in Suffolk. I was also hit on the hand with a ruler by teachers.

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. Sherri Matthews

      So glad you enjoyed it, Robbie, thanks so much! I love that we share the Suffolk connection throughout our various posts! 🙂 But not that we also share getting hit on the hand by a ruler…ouch. Not good…

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  20. Jules

    Sherri, I agree that schools and teachers need to be more receptive of all students different needs. There is still to much testing related to how much funds a school will receive. And too many quiet students who fall through the cracks. I had to be an advocate for both of my children who had different issues. And even then respect seems limited.

    Continued success in all you do 🙂 ~ Jules

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. Sherri Matthews

      Hi Jules, how lovely to see you again 🙂 I haven’t been around much at all lately, but I’m delighted to be here today back at school with Norah! Yes, totally agree, way too much emphasis on test results putting a school on the map of academic excellence, while those quiet ones are falling through the cracks. I feel for you having had to go down the advocacy path, it’s a long, hard road and I still am, except no longer at school but with a mental health system that seems to have barely any funding at all despite all the recent publicity. But that’s a whole other post… I’ll be over the Ranch again very soon, look forward to catching up with you again. Thank you so much Jules and the same to you… 🙂

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    2. Norah Post author

      Your children were fortunate to have you as their advocate, Jules. Unfortunately, not all parents seem able to do that for their children. Respect is essential.

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  21. Susan Scott

    Thank you both Sherri and Norah. Am rather green with envy Sherri for your precise and graphic recall of school days! Good on the American system for fostering good citizenship something that all schools could adopt. Like mentoring another less advantaged school which is done here in South Africa by some schools.

    I’m sorry about your youngest not getting the support he needed in England at his school.

    Best wishes for your book, it sounds like a real roller coaster!

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Sherri Matthews

      Thank you, Susan, lovely to meet you, and I’m so glad you enjoyed this trip down memory lane. I remember certain parts, but draw a complete blank on others! What a wonderful mentoring system in South Africa, I’ve never heard of it. I think it’s got a bit better here now with picking up Autisitic Spectrum traits, but too many still aren’t getting the help. Always it comes down to lack of funding, which seems to be the mantra for life in general in the UK at the moment…but let’s not go there in light of our deep political problems at the moment… Thank you so much for your enthusiasm for my book…getting closer! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

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  22. Darlene

    This was very interesting due to the fact that Sherri has been exposed to both the British and the American school systems. I felt bad for you that you had to drag your cooking home with you on the bus. We just ate our cooking at school. I did love Home Economics and often recreated what we learned at home for my parents and brothers. It is sad when children fall through the cracks and are not diagnosed sooner. Your book sounds very good, Sherri.

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. Sherri Matthews

      Hi Darlene! Putting my children through the American school system was a huge eye opener. I loved it and the community it gave me and my family at the time. It was a big part of our life for many years with three children stretching between elementary, middle and high school at one point! I wish we could have eaten our cooking at school, sounds much more civilised! Like you, I practiced on my mum and brother with certain dishes and still now hear the voice of my teacher, Miss Fox, ringing in my ear when I make short crust pastry…which isn’t very often these days, and just as well probably. Thank you so much for my book…soon be there, I hope! 🙂

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    2. Norah Post author

      I’m pleased you enjoyed Sherri’s reminiscences, Darlene. I agree with you about taking the cooking home on the bus. What an adventure. It’s a wonder it got there. I took my cooking home but I lived only about a kilometre from the school and had to carry it. We did cooking for only one year and didn’t cook every week. I still have some strong memories (but not too many) from those classes.

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