At age three I was enrolled in Detroit’s famous Merrill Palmer Nursery School on Ferry Street. I hated it. It was a research center for child behavior in an old mansion that looked like a witch’s den. Fittingly, we were subjected to the game ‘Giants and Fairies.’ When the teacher announced this activity the more aggressive kids ran to a big chest full of colored silk rectangles and grabbed one until all were gone.  Shyer children had to become the giants whose role was to chase the fairies. I longed for a colored silk square to float behind me. Instead I ended up a giant, instructed to stalk the fairies as they raced across the playroom in front of us.  Whatever those researchers may have been studying, the game seems flawed. It honed in me a longing for the silky colorful unattainable, and created a bitter memory of Merrill Palmer. Today my closet has a rack full of colorful scarves.

A l’âge de trois ans à Detroit, j’ai été inscrite dans l’Ecole Maternelle fameuse, Merrill Palmer, dans la rue Ferry. Je l’ai détestée. C’était un centre de recherche sur le comportement des enfants dans un vieil hôtel privé qui avait l’air d’un repère de sorcière. Justement, nous étions soumis à un jeu, “Géants et Fées.” Au moment où la maîtresse annonçait cette activité, les gars les plus agressifs se sont précipités vers un coffre bourré de morceaux de tissu en soie de toutes les couleurs et se sont emparés d’un de ces rectangles jusqu’à ce que tout soit parti. Les plus timides devaient prendre le rôle de géant, instruits de traquer les fées pendant qu’elles couraient devant nous. Quoique ces chercheurs aient pu avoir en tête, le jeu me paraît défectueux. Il a provoqué en moi un désir pour la couleur soyeuse inaccessible et un souvenir amer de Merrill Palmer. A présent, mon placard est rempli de foulards colorés

4 thoughts on “THE WEIRD SCARF GAME

  1. It’s interesting how childhood experiences tend to present themselves in our lives. Merry Christmas Julie!

    Love you,



  2. Julie! How lovely to read something from you again. I hope you are keeping well and will have good company during this festive season. As for the game … it sounds a little cruel or unkind to me and so it is not surprising that you have collected scarves along the way 🙂


  3. Thank you, Anne!! Yes, I’ve started up again, trying to continue blogging and finish my manuscript….loved your comments, and will tell my So. African friend Deborah Mindry about you…she is a social anthropologist that goes back and forth from CA to So. Africa….


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