Scratch’s ‘Daniel’ series of stories on ABCtales is coming to a conclusion. I’ve been having flashbacks, images of long black frocks and oversized crucifixes, the parish priest Canon Mallon and my teacher Mrs Boyle standing next to him, but with a slightly smaller crucifix. Little did I know that I was involved in a cruel experiment and like many others I’m ready to sue and seek therapeutic help by getting it down on paper. There are others like me out there.
Anyone who went to St Stephen’s Primary school as decribed in this book http://unbound.co.uk/books/lily-poole
should contact me for counselling. Anyone that did not go to St Stephen’s Primary school should buy a copy of the book to see what we are talking about.
Walter Mischel’s Stanford Marshmallow experiment describes how a young child, under five, is given a choice. Have a marshmallow (or sweet) now or wait, and get two marshmallows later. Children who deferred gratification until later Mischel found, in long-term studies, did better in education and life.
The St Stephen’s Digestive biscuit test was much more exacting. At school break time in the morning we could buy a Digestive biscuit off Mrs Boyle our teacher for one old penny. Some, like myself, were often excluded from this experiment because they has lots of brother and sister and too few pennies. But unlike the Stanford experiment Mrs Boyle didn’t offer two -or more Digestives for delaying not eating a biscuit we couldn’t afford – she offered salvation, for an old penny. She gave us the option of eating a Digestive, or buying a black baby.
If we bought a black baby for a penny it was ticked down on a sheet and when you got to a shilling eventually you got to own a black baby and you were given a picture of it. For giving up Digestive biscuits you were sent to heaven. Now that’s what I call delayed gratification.
I’ve been trying to find Dennis Deeney because like me he never amounted to much and went bald. Unlike me, however, his mother’s sister was a nun, Sister Hosey. It might have been genetic but in the biscuit or black baby test he always took the black baby. He bought so many black babies that any God fearing slave-ship captain would have found it difficult fitting them below deck.
I’m just wondering if Dennis Deeney is in heaven. If he is can he contact me and let me know and I can rest easy.