My Old School and my Pantry Skeleton

This would have been my school if, during the civil Spanish war, a bomb wouldn’t have fallen on top of it and burned it all. Luckily, the school was empty. The air attack took place during a night of January 1938. The situation of the school was fatal for its existance… too near the port!

Nowadays it would be such a thrill to have the school by the beach! I would have loved it!!! Well, me and everybody, I guess. Imagine boys and girls back then in such a marvellous environment! When the rest of schools were kind of grey, boring and unimaginative. It was Paradise!

The school had only 5 classes, 2 for girls, 2 for boys and 1 for kindergarden. The building was on top of reinforced concrete columns so that the sea storms wouldn’t afect it. And the wooden staircases could come up in case of big swell and could come down to help the children go down to the beach.

There were lots of outside activities: sport competitions, sand games, a small tour with the school boat… It was just perfect! The school belonged to the city of Barcelona and its appearance and teaching methods were different from the rest of the schools. They based education on Social Life and Intelectual Life, therefore, the main subjects to learn were: Musical education, Games, Weather Report diary, Free Work, Drawing, Reading, Plastic Arts…. I could talk for hours about the School because it was finally my school too! Not by the beach, this time was up on a hill and with a perfect view of Barcelona and the sea. The education methods were still similar to those at its beggining. The third emplacement was this one you see hereunder… and it’s still there.

Isn’t it beautiful too? Well, this post has a meaning, really, maybe it’s just taking me too long to say why I’m explaining all these old memories. Some days ago I visited Thyme for cooking hosted by charming Katie and she has an event going on called Skeletons in the Pantry, which made me think of something that happened to me at school. That’s the first reason and the second also has to do with Katie’s blog: she was talking about good manners at the table, and this also made me think of my old school.

Okay, here comes the story and it has to do with food: see here above, this was my school dinning room… huge, uh? Take a look at the fireplace ( on the left), during Xmas celebrations one of the oldest boys in the school wore a devil’s costume and hide inside the chimney. When nobody expected it he would show up shouting and grumbling and we would all step backwards in fear! But it was great!!!

Here is where I learned good table manners, of course my parents also taught me, but at school rules were more rigid. For example, we couldn’t place our elbows on the table, we could not drink while having soup, we had to place our napkin on our lap, bla, bla, bla. And we did so… but, some days when the table head (the one controlling the rest of the table people) wasn’t looking we would do some funny things! One of us (kids about 8 to 12) invented a competition: Once or twice a week we had chickpeas for lunch, the thing was to throw down to the floor one chickpea, each participant one at a time. See all the waitresses serving lunch? Well, if a waitress stepped on the chickpea and it stayed stuck to her shoe that were 10 points. If the chickpea layed smashed on the floor that were 5 points. It was soooo thrilling and exciting! And I don’t remember being caught ever!!!

Another thing we did too, and I’m not very proud of, was to share our lunch between the table companions, but not in the usual way. You were supposed to finish all the food in your plate. No exceptions! If you didn’t like something, then you had a problem! I was lucky I just adored the school food. When the table head wasn’t looking, my companions (the ones that didn’t like meatballs) would roll them down through the floor near to my chair, I would pretend my napkin had fallen and take the meatballs to my plate. UUUUUhhhhhhh I still don’t know how I could eat those!!!!! Puaffff… I’m alive, though!

And this is my Skeleton in the Pantry. Well, in a near future, just after Xmas, I will post how to do Christmas Catalan meatballs (following all hygienic conditions, of course, je, je, je) . I’m sorry I’m not posting recipes now… these days I’m just too busy!!!


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12/21/2007 · 18:53 h by Peter M


I’m disappointed to hear that no flamenco lessons were given in elementary school in Espana!

Thank you for the amusing story.

12/21/2007 · 20:19 h by Núria

Querido Peter, as you surely know, Flamenco is not representing all Spaniards. Originally is from south of Spain: Andalucía, but in the Basque country, Catalonia, Galicia, Madrid… have their/our own signing/dancing traditions.
However, if you ever come to Barcelona and want to see good flamenco, it’s on me!

Thank you for reading the post! Glad you had a good time!!

12/22/2007 · 0:11 h by Emiline

It is a busy time of year! Your stories are fun, though.
I think I’d be too scared to do such things in the lunchroom.
Happy Holidays

12/22/2007 · 9:28 h by Núria

Thanks Emiline, don’t know why these days I feel a bit nostalgic!!!
Happy holidays for you too!

12/22/2007 · 12:18 h by katiez

What a gorgeous school – both of them!
We always spent a lot of time in Barcelona at Christmas. (Don’t tell anyone in France but it’s actually my favorite city)
Thanks for telling the world about your chickpea and meatball escapades…. Hilarious stories!
Did you ever get floor-chickpeas on your rolling meatballs?

12/22/2007 · 13:34 h by Núria

Hola Katie!!! Really? you come over to Barcelona for Xmas? Anything you need just email me!!! I’ll be superglad to help/have a coffe/recommend a restaurant/bla!
Concerning the meatballs… I don’t think they got any of the chickpeas on her way to my chair… How disgusting!!!!!!!!!!!!
I still don’t know how I could… I remember the floor being sticky!!!!!!

12/22/2007 · 18:50 h by JennDZ - The Leftover Queen

That is too funny Nuria! Isn’t that funny to think back on how much we loved food, even as kids, and even at so much peril to our health?!

12/23/2007 · 10:26 h by Núria

Yeah, Jenn, I was lucky not to get an infection or something… I was such a “good eater” and still are!!!! Salud! Which means Health! It’s our way to toast.

12/24/2007 · 16:04 h by Bellini Valli

Thanks very much for starting my day off well with a good chcuckle Nuria. When I was in school we packed our own lunches. My daughters elementary school had hot lunes…I was a volunteer with the lunch program coming in once a week to help make the lunch.

12/28/2007 · 13:41 h by Núria

Hi Val! Can I call you this way? Those were such great times!!! We were so innocent… What is hot lunes?
I’m clicking right now to your blog!

01/16/2009 · 9:13 h by Francesc Punsola

Hey Nuria!!, I’m Frank writting to you From Barcelona, I have only a question to you about “Old School From the Sea”, in wich promotion did you spent your puppil days. I’m from the 76 promotion.

By the way I have edited a T-shirt with our center logo, this next 24 I’ll bring all that t-shirts to the center to sell it. I have it in three colors, White, green, and blue, of course!!


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