Of Childhood and Enid Blyton

Many of my social and cultural background in India started reading English books as kids thanks to Enid Blyton. I still have vivid memories of the characters in the Noddy series:  apart from Noddy himself, Mr. Plod the Policeman, Big Ears and Tessie Bear though I must read about them over 50 years ago. More recently  I enjoyed reading them out to my grandson!

After Noddy we graduated to other offerings from Blyton like,”The Secret Seven” and still later, “The Famous Five.” We eagerly waited to lay our hands on a Blyton we had never read before, even reading some of the books several times over. We exchanged yarns with each other and some of my earliest experiences in story telling came out of such sharing. If you want to re-live those days, as I did just now, The Enid Blyton Society has a wealth of information. You may like to start with this biography and later see some interesting snippets about the characters she created which you and I still remember, decades after we first came across them.

In those far away days, as kids in India, we had no idea that some of what she wrote was/would be perceived to be racial and prejudicial against certain races. These were books after all and we loved the stories set in England even though we had never been anywhere near England ourselves. We dreamt of tea with ham sandwiches, buttered scones, and toasts though these were rare in our day- to-day lives. We learnt the value of  passwords ( long before the advent of the Internet) and developed secret codes in our own versions of the Famous Five or The Secret Seven.

In this context it was fascinating for me to read this post about Enid Blyton by Kate Forsyth.  You will know that Blyton  died years ago ( in 1968, shortly after I left school) aged 71, but she stays in the minds of kids the world over even to this day and will continue to do so for decades more. After spending time at her Website and all this reading about Enid Blyton, (my favourite writer at one time), when I returned back to the present it felt like coming back from quite another world.

 

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