“Bittersweet Symphony” (Memories of the past)

by Elis. Pramateftakis – Teacher

Traveling back through time makes you recall thousands of memories and offers knowledge about the past which is without doubt always exciting and enlightening. It helps you find out more about your great ancestors and appreciate life more and what you now possess.

This is exactly how I felt when I first visited the Museum of School Life in Nerokourou, Chania. The old wooden desks, the various objects – small blackboards, the small bell, wooden schoolbags and so on – as well as the picture of the students in the 1930’s made me think of life back then. Various images came to my mind. Images of students sitting silently on their desks, some very poor and others with bear foot. Teachers being really strict, trying to teach seventy students in a single class. They used to be severe, punishing children either for their behaviour or for their lack of knowledge or for not being clean! Still they were respected and looked up to for their role in society was of outmost significance. Also there were few books, no notebooks, and no means of transport which meant that they all had to walk long distances so as to acquire knowledge. Difficult years with poverty, German occupation, fear. Past generations confronted all the above with a smile, with the Greek family being united, our church being helpful and the faith being strong.

All the above make me recall my own childhood. I still remember those days when we all played as kids carelessly in a huge area – where you can now find ugly building and enormous streets. We had fewer possessions, no pc, no DVDs or mobile phones but we were truly happy. Our parents were not worried for there were open doors all around the area and we felt protected. All the families would gather in the evening out in the neighbourhood and share their food. And we would play till late at night……

Nowadays, things are so different. We all have so much and we still ask for more! Our non-stop quest of well-being is totally related to the acquisition of material things. Children rarely play out in the fields. They get stuck in front of a pc, having to deal with dangerous “encounters” without being fully prepared. Either deliberately or not, they are not encouraged to go out and run or ride a bike or just lie down and enjoy nature. Families, at the same time, rarely gather at home for parents work long hours so as to make ends meet. Life moves so fast. Everyone – adult or child – is constantly “on the go”, in activities, obligations and lessons. And by the end of the day, we all realize that we have done so much but in such a chaotic situation we have actually lost ourselves!!

So what is left for us to do? We must appreciate what we have and feel satisfied with only a few. We must enjoy each and every moment and teach our children to do the same. Never pout, never lose faith or hope. Happiness lies in small things as long as we are willing to recognize it. So walk out of your doors, offer a hug to your beloved ones, smile and fill your hearts with kindness. After all, as they once said, tomorrow is always another, a better day and we must live it as much as we can.

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