In the olden days

Inspired by her Latin lessons, Pearl has been reading up on life in Ancient Rome.  Every so often, she comes out with little pieces of enlightenment for us.  Tonight, as I was serving dinner, she said, “Mum, in the olden times…” – a phrase that makes me steel myself for questions about the 1990s – “… like in Ancient Rome…” – whew! – “… do you think they had blackboards?”

She says it smugly, expecting to trip me up on some arcane tidbit of knowledge.  “Um , no, they had slates, didn’t they?”

“No!” she says triumphantly, “They had wax tablets, and they used a thing called a stylus…” and off she goes.  But The Dad is coming into the room and has heard “they had slates”, and he chips in.

“We used slates when I was learning handwriting at school,” he informs us.  We hear about the lines that were engraved on them, the stylus used to write on them, and how noisy they were.

Pearl’s eyes go wide.  “Did you use a slate too, Mummy?”

“No, dear, paper had been invented by the time I went to school.”

© UpsideBackwards 2010.

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