or: The asexual reproduction of plants.
Miss Power was probably the least well-named teacher we ever had. Beige in dress, including the long bloomers she used to wear under her skirt (we could see whenever she sat at the desk on the dais, legs comfortably, yet still modestly, apart) and somewhat beige in personality. Certainly when it came to teaching us biology. Finally the lesson came which we had all been waiting for. There was a chapter called “Reproduction” in our biology text books, and we were all dying to know how she would deal with it. So far we had dealt with reproduction in flowers. Asexual reproduction in fact. Not that she read that word out to us. Oh no. Every time she came across it in the book she seamlessly said “reproduction by division in two.” Whatever that means. But – this was her most imaginative lesson yet: she took us outside into the garden and made us gather buttercups and bring them back, stick them in our books and draw them very precisely. I enjoyed that. But do I know any more about how they make more of themselves? No. But we had a nice time. Every time I see a buttercup – hence the photo – I think of dear Miss Power and asexual reproduction. Whatever that is.
Sad to say she missed out the next chapter – inadvertently? It was about rabbits anyway, as I recall. I read it for myself. The word sexual did crop up quite frequently, and I don’t think she knew how to change that into something less embarrassing. We had to wait a couple of years for Mrs Harford to explain the ins and outs of parenthood to us. She was cool. She had a husband and a son – and she used to smoke in lessons! Can you imagine that now?
But back to dear Miss Power. I have no idea how old she was in the sixties. The swinging decade seems to have passed her by entirely.
Nevertheless she could be very funny. She used to go home to Ireland every holiday and one beginning of term she was a day late. She had been recovering from the shock of being apprehended in customs for smuggling Kerrygold butter to England. It was cheaper in Ireland apparently. But she was caught. It was a hot day and it began to melt in her bag. She enjoyed telling us the story, this mistress criminal that was our biology teacher. We all liked her as she was very kind. Just not very keen to satisfy our curiosity.
I have no idea what happened to her after she left. I wonder who else remembers her?