Sunday, October 26, 2008

Is you a good citizen?

I found an antique in the garage today (Mr.4444 cleaned it for the party next weekend!!) It's a grade school textbook from 1923, called Elementary English, Spoken and Written, by Hodge and Lee. Paging through it, I noted a couple of interesting entries....

Our Country's Flag-
When a flag is carried by in a parade, stand up if you are seated. If you are walking, halt. Stand at attention. Boys remove their hats as the flag passes. Never allow the flag to drag on the ground. Never leave it out after dark.

You may learn this pledge to the flag so that the class can recite it together:

I give my head, my heart, my hand to God and my country; one country, one language, one flag.

My mom may have used such a textbook in the two-room school house she attended as a young girl. It makes sense that her generation has strong feelings about speaking English in this country. After all, my parents were only one generation away from ancestors who immigrated here and were proud to learn the English language.

More from the book....

Being a Good Citizen-
Every boy and girl who lives in America is proud of being an American. He wants to be a good citizen of his country. One of the things every good citizen tries to do is to speak the language of his country clearly and correctly. If we are careless about the way we speak our own English language, we are not truly good citizens of America. Perhaps you make errors which are common to your locality, (the author chastises.)

The book goes on to advise students against saying things like, "This here is my pencil," "It was are turn to play," "My pencil point is busted" [instead of broken], "Are youse coming over tonight?" and "I bought me a coat."

Isn't this interesting?? I'm not trying to make a political statement here. I just think it's interesting (and funny, in spots).

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