School Days reminiscences of Pamela Wight

School Days, Reminiscences of Pamela Wight

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 Pamela Wight, author, blogger and creative writing teacher. It seems that Pamela and I have known each other forever. I enjoy reading her blog Roughwighting where she muses on life and amuses with her short stories. Although I enjoyed her romance novel The Right Wrong Man – a fun story that I couldn’t put down – I was delighted when she published her first picture book Birds of Paradise, so delighted that I interviewed her about it on readilearn. I am very excited to hear that she has a new picture book Molly Finds her Purr coming out next month.

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

            Pamela Wight writes romantic suspense (The Right Wrong Man, Twin Desires) and is also the author of an illustrated children’s book, Birds of Paradise, a finalist in the International Book Awards, and the up-coming picture book Molly Finds Her Purr.  All of Wight’s page-turning novels are available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble as paperbacks or e-books. Birds of Paradise (and Molly Finds Her Purr in September 2019) can be purchased on Amazon and Barnes & Noble as hardbacks.

            Pamela earned her MA in English from Drew University, continued with postgraduate work at UC Berkeley in publishing, and teaches creative writing classes in Boston and San Francisco. She lives in the Boston area with her “right man” and hikes the New England trails while concocting her third novel, As Lovely as a Lie. Wight speaks to book clubs and teaches creative writing classes in both locations. Many readers enjoy her “weekly blog on daily living” called Roughwighting. (www.roughwighting.net)

Pamela Wight and her books

Welcome, Pamela.

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

I attended elementary, middle, and high school in a small New Jersey town called Pitman. We only had about 400 students in the (non-private) high school. I couldn’t wait to leave Pitman and move on to bigger and better things. Now as an adult, I appreciate the wonderful aspects of small town living. 

What is the highest level of education you achieved?

I received my B.A. in English Lit from a small Pennsylvania college with excellent professor-to student-relationships. My professors gave me a paid internship when I was a senior to teach their small college Freshman English classes. With that experience, I got a full scholarship for graduate school near New York City, where I earned a Masters in English Literature.

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

I worked as an editor and writer for a small feminist newspaper. 

What is your earliest memory of school?

Kindergarten! I was so excited that the teacher had a corner full of costumes, where we could dress up and be anyone we wanted. I choose “Superwoman.”

What memories do you have of learning to read? 

I remember a stream of sunlight in my living room when I was young – before Kindergarten – and taking out the picture books on the bottom bookshelf and making up stories from the pictures. That’s when I first started to “read.”

What memories do you have of learning to write?

Pamela Wight learning to write

What I remember as a child is writing birthday and holiday cards to my family, many of them poems; this is how I first discovered my love of writing.

What do you remember about math classes?

How much I hated them. Math didn’t make sense to me; stories did.

What was your favourite subject? 

English.

What did you like best about school?

what Pamela Wight liked best about school

I loved going to my English and Drama (and even Latin) classes, because we were assigned stories and novels, and then discussed the characters and the setting and the plot in school: Fahrenheit 451 (where I began my love for Ray Bradbury’s writing), 1984 (dystopian!), Of Mice and Men (first book that made me sob), Invisible Man (awakened my social consciousness); Pride and Prejudice (romance with wit!). I woke up and grew up as I read these books.

What did you like least about school?

Biology and geometry. The worst? Dissecting frogs. I protested animal cruelty, but the teacher still made me do it.

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

Pamela Wight and granddaughter

I think my kids (and now my grandkids) are given a wider variety of subjects to learn in each class, even elementary. One of my 6-year-old grandchildren has explained to me the metamorphosis of a butterfly; a 5-year-old grandson has showed me his yogic postures of down dog and plow that he learned in Kindergarten; and my granddaughter recited a speech by John Adams in 4th grade and played the role of John Lennon on “Biography Day” in 5th grade. When I was in school during those grades, we just “followed the lines” in every subject.  Also, special education has improved so much from my school time (when basically there was no “special” education) to my children’s time, to my grandchildren’s, where there’s now much more focus on helping those with different learning abilities.

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

Open up a child’s intellect and curiosity about many subjects, and allow each child to thrive while learning.

Pamela Wight reading Birds of Paradise to children

How do you think schools could be improved?

I think schools should focus on the importance of empathy and compassion for all living beings, as well as the importance of learning a subject. Open up more lessons on diversity and how we each learn from each other. Additionally, we need more/better high school classes on ‘daily life’ activities like budgeting and nutrition.

thank you for your participation

Thank you for sharing your reminiscences of school and thoughts about education in general, Pamela. It’s been wonderful to have you here. I totally agree that we should focus more on the importance of empathy and compassion, and the ability to learn from each other.

Find out more about Pamela

Visit her blog: www.roughwighting.net

Goodreads author page: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/12334429-pamela

Connect with her on social media

Facebook: http://facebook.com/roughwighting

Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/pamelawight

Twitter: https://twitter.com/pamelawight

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pam94920

Pamela Wight and her books

Purchase your own copy of

The Right Wrong Man

Twin Desires

Birds of Paradise

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

Sherri Matthews

Mabel Kwong

Chelsea Owens

Carol Taylor

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

Pete Springer

Yvette Prior

Colleen Chesebro

Thank you blog post

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

 

138 thoughts on “School Days, Reminiscences of Pamela Wight

  1. Pingback: School Days, Reminiscences of Balroop Singh | Norah Colvin

  2. Patricia Tilton

    Missed your interview with Pamela. What an interesting career she’s had — I follow her blog and still learned a lot more about her! I love her weekly posts. And, I love hearing about her grandchildren and the creative things they are doing. I too hated math and science in school, but gravitated toward reading, writing poems and school plays in elementary schools.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      I’m pleased you enjoyed Pam’s interview and learned some new things about her, Patricia. I enjoy her blog too and find it quite delightful to read.

      Like

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  3. writersideup

    I really enjoyed this, ladies 😀 Pamela is lovely! And I went to high school in North Jersey. I think our 7th-12th-grade school attendance was around 180 and was much less by the time my son got there lol

    Liked by 2 people

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      1. writersideup

        Nope! But I wasn’t a great student either. I didn’t care, but they didn’t do anything that would help change that. Only one teacher was tough on me (too tough really). And the lack of individual effort and “push” was even worse for my son. He did OK “in spite of” (his words) the lack. My daughter-in-law and his college friends had the most positive effect (parents can only do so much) on my son and brought out his potential and lit the proper fire for him to properly succeed.

        I will say that the one thing my high school did for me was actually pretty big which, at the time, I didn’t realize just how big: the principal called me into the office and asked me why I wasn’t applying to colleges. I told him my grades were terrible so even if I wanted to (which I didn’t), how could I get in? He asked where I’d want to go IF I were to want to. I hadn’t even considered college, but we had recently gone on a class trip to The Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY so I said, “I don’t know. Pratt?” They actually arranged for my art teacher to take off a day of school (which means they had to hire a substitute teacher for the day) and bring me in to see someone in admissions at Pratt. I brought whatever pieces of artwork with me. Long story short, I was accepted to the school regardless of my grades. I regret not having been in a place in my life that led me to do it, but I turned down this amazing opportunity because I knew I would never be able to do 4 years of commuting into the city and didn’t want to waste my parents’ money. Que sera sera though. But when I look back, of all the things NOT done for me during my 6 years there, THAT was pretty big.

        Liked by 1 person

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        1. Norah Post author

          Thanks for answering my question, Donna, and I’m so sorry to hear that your high school did little to support you. As you say, that one thing was pretty big, but it was also ineffectual as you weren’t able to accept it. I’m pleased your son received positive support by friends in college that helped him reach his potential. I hope you feel you are also reaching yours now with the projects with which you are involved.

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    1. roughwighting

      WOW. Now that’s a small school setting! I wonder where in North Jersey. I always felt that New Jersey is really two completely different states – the northern and the southern. Many thanks for reading and commenting here. xo

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
  4. Pingback: School Days, Reminiscences of Pete Springer | Norah Colvin

  5. Jules

    Another enjoyable read. I must tell you though I refused to dissect the frog. My parents gave us one day a school year that we could beg off… I think I used mine that year to not go to that science class. And I don’t remember and didn’t care if I got a failing grade for that assignment!

    Continued success.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks for sharing your froggy experience, Jules. How clever of your parents to allow you one day off a year. That way you would ensure you use it wisely. I haven’t heard of anyone else doing that. I bet the frog wishes it had the same option. 😂

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
    2. roughwighting

      Yay for your parents and the way they allowed you to follow your beliefs. In my school, the dissection was at least a week-long biology segment. I hated it to the extent that I knew then that I would never be a scientist. 😦 Weirdly, and I suppose karmatic, my daughter majored in science in college and is a 6th grade science teacher. BUT, she does not believe in frog dissection, and encourages other teachers to use computer-generated dissections (which I believe more schools are using now). All good!

      Liked by 2 people

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      1. Jules

        It’s one thing to take apart a plant… Though some might argue that too.
        AI certainly has brought made the world smaller… The periodic table (which I never did memorize… had spaces when I was growing up… now it’s overflowing!)

        Liked by 2 people

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            1. roughwighting

              The Periodic Table of the Elements lists all of the known elements in the universe, including such elements as Helium, Oxygen, Lead, Gold, Calcium, etc.
              If you had to choose one element to be made up of, which element would you choose and write about it in a creative way.
              Or, write a poem using your favorite element
              Or, choose three periodic elements and make up different words for them; ie Sc is for scintillating, Ta is for tantalizing, Ru is ruminate and write a story with those three words in it about a science experiment. SEE? So much fun! 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

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            1. Norah Post author

              The things we make children do!! Probably had you caught the fish and then prepared it to eat, you might have had a completely different response.

              Like

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      2. Norah Post author

        Computer-generated dissections are the way to go, I think. I’m sorry to hear that the experience turned you off science, though, Pamela. There are many streams of science and biology is just one of them (and dissecting frogs is a very small part of that). What science does your daughter specialise in?

        Liked by 1 person

        Reply
  6. balroop2013

    I love Pam’s style of writing, no wonder she developed it so early and yes about Math! Even I hated it 🙂 I have some interesting memories of school, very different from the ones shared here Norah, so keep me in the queue. Thanks for sharing those lovely pics Pam, you were such a cute child!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks for your lovely comments about Pam’s writing, Balroop. I agree.
      I’m delighted you are happy to share your school reminiscences in this series. I’ve already sent you the questions. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
    2. roughwighting

      Haha. ALL children are cute at that age, with wonder and innocence still in their eyes. My wish is that we can keep that expression in more children’s eyes longer (as a poet, you know what I mean). I can’t wait to read YOUR memories of school Balroop. xo

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
  7. Darlene

    Of course, you picked Superwoman! Loved learning about the amazing little Pamela who has become the fabulous woman we know now. I agree that schools do offer more now which is great as all children learn differently. I was gravely ill the day we were to dissect frogs. An experience I was glad to miss. Funny how I was much better the next day. xo

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Darlene. I’m so sorry to hear that you were gravely ill the day of the frog dissection. (I believe it was too. 🐸) But I’m pleased you, at least, made a miraculous recovery. 😉

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
    2. roughwighting

      You and Norah (and Jules, above) acquired the horrendous “frog dissection virus,” it seems. As I told Jules, my science teacher (a horrid moan with dark hair that sprouted out of his nostrils) prolonged the frog dissection for over a week, so I couldn’t get away with a one-day illness. On hindsight, I should have marked red spots all over my body and moaned that I had the “frog pox.”
      Here’s to all of us and our writing, blogging and friendship superpowers, Darlene. xo

      Liked by 2 people

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  8. Miriam Hurdle

    It’s great to learn more about Pam’s reading, writing, teaching and publishing journey. Going to a high school with 400 students? What an intimate setting. My daughter went to one with 2300 students.

    It’s exciting that your Molly Finds Her Purr is coming in September, Pam.

    Thank you for the post, Norah!

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Miriam. I’m sure “Molly Finds her Purr” will be delightful.
      I’d rather a school with 400 to one with 2300 students. It’s much easier to get to know everyone. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
        1. roughwighting

          Thank you for reading Norah’s fun interview, Miriam. At the time I wanted a larger school – so I could meet more students (a larger pool of guys, perhaps?) ;0 but looking back now I realize how lucky I was to study in a small, very close setting. We got to know not only our classmates well, but we also got close to our teachers.

          Liked by 1 person

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          1. Miriam Hurdle

            I know what it means, Pam. The high school my daughter went at the time, it was more than 3000 students (it’s less now because the student enrollments just drop at all schools in CA). Then she went to a university with about 4000 students at the time. When I went to the Junior event for the parents, there were so many students said “hi” to her. She is married 8 years now to a wonderful guy from freshmen!!

            Liked by 2 people

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              1. Miriam Hurdle

                It was more than three thousands, but I don’t want to say four thousands. I think it was about four thousand 18 years ago. When my daughter went to a private university with four thousands students, I made a comment that her high school had that many students.
                Many schools in California have high student population.

                Liked by 1 person

                Reply
  9. Charli Mills

    Norah, I wonder if you are tracking statistics on your guests — how many dislike math, for example? 😉

    I like how Pamela describes both waking and growing up with the succession of books school exposed her to. Discussing books (characters, setting, plot) is just as important as reading them. It gave me an epiphany as to why I don’t really like to do or read reviews despite knowing how important they are to authors. Reviews are never a discussion or discovery because they are always one-sided and end up feeling opinionated instead of opening to discourse. Now that I’m back in school, I feel more connected and awake, reading and discussing with others what we read.

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. Norah Post author

      I haven’t tracked those stats, Charli. Perhaps when the series is finished, I can go through and provide some data. It could be interesting.
      I’m pleased you picked up what Pam said about ‘waking and growing up’. I thought that was a great point too.
      I’m pleased you are finding connection with book and writing discussions with others. I don’t mind reading reviews, especially of books I might like to read, but I don’t like writing them and procrastinate dreadfully. I think the star rating turns me off mostly. I’d rather just share an opinion.

      Liked by 1 person

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    2. roughwighting

      Thanks for your great comment and observations here, Charli. Yes, the more I learned about a book’s setting and characters and the way the author used description, the more I understood why I liked a particular book, and also why I DIDN’T like a novel. Settings that are overdone (and go on and on, not moving the plot) are not my favorite kind of fiction.
      As far as reviews, as an author I know how important they are to help us get the word out there that readers are enjoying our books. So I L O V E and appreciate considerate reviews. Personally I only review a book I like, a 4-star or 5-star book. I don’t believe in giving bad reviews; I just don’t review a book I don’t like, because as you say, what one reader likes and another doesn’t is so subjective. But a review that explains WHY a reader likes a book (for instance, “I like spunky characters, and Meredith is fun and lively and has some great adventures.” is helpful. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      1. Norah Post author

        Those are great thoughts about reviews, Pam. While I might only write reviews of books I like, not writing a review doesn’t mean I don’t like it. It just means I haven’t written a review. 😂

        Liked by 1 person

        Reply
  10. Jacqui Murray

    I have read Right Wrong Man–loved it–and can’t wait for Molly Finds her Purr. I’m not surprised, Pam, that your favorite subject is English. I think a lot of people share your thought that schools should address empathy more. Social-emotional programs are gaining steam.

    Liked by 2 people

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  11. dgkaye

    Fantastic to see Pam here today in the spotlight. And I have to wonder just how many of us creatives enjoyed playing make believe and pretending to be someone else. It sounds like both Pam and I began our writing with cards and notes, a foreshadowing out things to come! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      I’m pleased you enjoyed Pam’s reminiscences, Debby. I think you’re right about creatives. One thing they (we) all have in common is an imagination. We think outside our heads.

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
  12. roughwighting

    I loved being part of your Reminisces section, Norah. Thank you for including me and bringing me back to those good ole school days. The really neat thing is that all of us are still learning so much! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      It’s my pleasure to interview you about your school days, Pamela. It’s wonderful to hear how everyone was influenced by their school ing, and I really enjoy hearing the suggestions for how schools could be improved. Now we just need to get the powers that be to take note. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  13. susan scott

    Great interview Norah and ‘answers’ Pam! I’d love to check out your novels in time Pam – from the few blogs of yours I’ve engaged in, I know I like your style of wighting.
    Wouldn’t that be great if schools implemented your suggestions. And that’s pretty amazing about your grandchildren relating their ‘stories’ … wow! Thank you both 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. roughwighting

      Many thanks for your comment here. I think education has opened young minds up to a much bigger world than when I was in elementary and high school. And as an aside, I love going to my grandkids’ elementary classes and reading my children’s books. At that age kids still think authors are celebrities!! 😍

      Liked by 2 people

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    2. Norah Post author

      I’m pleased you enjoyed Pam’s reminiscences, Susan, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading her blog and her books. I do. 🙂
      I’m pleased you picked up on the ‘wighting’. It’s clever, isn’t it?

      Liked by 2 people

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      1. Anne Goodwin (Annecdotist)

        Nothing logical? One of my favourite Maths courses at university was one on Logic! I don’t understand how intelligent adults are somehow proud to have struggled with Maths. As Norah says, if you didn’t ‘get’ it, it must’ve been badly taught. Also, don’t confuse Maths with boring old Arithmetic; that’s part of it in the early stages but it is so-o-o-o much more.

        Liked by 1 person

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        1. roughwighting

          I was kind of being ‘tongue in cheek’ with the ‘not logical’ comment. When I was in 6th grade the school tested me because they thought I’d be a math genius (I was showing signs…). So yes, I’d guess that the teaching I received in junior high really turned me off to math, and even more so in high school. When I tutored high school special ed students many (many) years later I found a great joy (and fun) in algebra. So, mea culpa. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

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          1. Norah Post author

            I am so pleased you were able to find the fun in algebra for your students, Pam. It’s a shame that your high school teachers dulled the maths genius within. It happened to me in year 11 and 12 too. So sad. Of twenty students, only 4 passed year 12 maths and those four all had extra classes during the final term from an outside-school tutoring college. (One of them wasn’t me.) 😦
            Both my ‘children’ are great mathematicians. Son has a PhD in computer science and spends his life with algorithms. Daughter loves statistics and is teaching a graduate program in stats. My thoughts are ‘how exciting – not!’ They seem to enjoy it which is really all that matters. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

            Reply
            1. roughwighting

              Oh, this is pretty funny, though. Somehow our progeny found a love of numbers. My son does some kind of high-level financing in solar energy. I don’t understand a word of it as he tries to explain. But then again, I’m not sure he understands my poetry, either. ;-0

              Liked by 1 person

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              1. Norah Post author

                It is funny. I know just what you mean. I couldn’t read my son’s PhD thesis. It was all formula and stuff. Nothing poetic in that! However, his daughter loves poetry. When I picked her up from school yesterday, there was a book fair at school and she chose a book of poetry. They’d had a visit from the poet during the day and the poet had read from the book. My little one couldn’t stop reading us poetry all afternoon and evening. What fun!

                Liked by 1 person

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        2. Norah Post author

          I loved Logic in year 11 and 12. I didn’t study it but a friend did. She was having difficulty and asked for my help. I thought it was wonderful fun. But pages of boring algorithms? No thanks. 🙂

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