19 April 2012


(View from restaurant window)

It was a lovely place to have lunch, a view of the lake, sun shimmering on the water, Canadian geese parading on the bank, swans swimming, mallards preening. What a wonderful time of year.

Inside the restaurant, people ate their Saturday lunch. My friend and I marvelled at the fashions worn by younger women, admired the men they were with, handsome and well dressed in modern trend. It was good.

The place was crowded. We’d been lucky to get a seat by a window overlooking the grounds, where tables would only accommodate two people. Other parties had to sit in the middle. The table adjacent to ours was occupied by a party ... a family birthday celebration. We knew that because of the rousing chorus Happy Birthday. The party consisted of a very elderly lady known as Mummy, her husband, two sons and their wives, one granddaughter (university student) and a younger granddaughter, an obvious cousin, who looked to be about 8 or 9.

Because of their close proximity, my friend and I could hear every bit of their conversation, but one thing that struck me was that nobody spoke to the young girl. The child listened to conversations and smiled when appropriate but mostly she looked bored. Not really surprising with no communication! The rest of the gathering was quite animated yet not one person included the youngster or even looked her way, talking across her most of the time. In the two hours we were there we didn’t see anyone try to draw the girl into the occasion. She might as well not have been there ... or perhaps she was invisible to older folk! If ever there was a case of ‘speak when you’re spoken to’ this was it.

My heart went out to her when I saw her put her arms on the table and lean on them as if to say talk to me ‘cause I’m pretty fed up with being ignored.

Cruelty comes in many forms, it’s not necessary to use violence to maltreat kids. But it’s none of my business, is it?


  1. Very well observed Valerie. Two hours is a long time for a child to be ignored. She must be extremely well behaved. Or cowed down!

  2. It's so sad to hear that family ignored the child. :(

  3. ugh...i feel for her as well...and it is easy for kids to feel like that too...sad she is ginored...

  4. Hi John, yes the girl was well behaved. I would have loved to see her play up a little, that is if she was allowed to.

    Pearl, the family, especially the grandmother, should have known better. I dearly wanted to go across and talk to the child.

  5. Brian, I knew you would feel for her. The adults should be ashamed of themselves.

  6. Valerie, you and I are so similar because I notice things like this too. And being someone who adores children, I would have definitely noticed this incident.

    And like you, I would have wanted to get up from the table and go over to the child and talk to her. And she probably would have been more interesting to talk to than the adults!

    How sad.

    Hope you're having a terrific Thursday, dear lady!


  7. Hi Ron, You could tell the girl was quite an intelligent soul and she looked as if she would be very polite. I felt so sorry that she was treated that way by the family.

  8. I agree! No matter who is sitting with us, or what kind of gathering it is, I always make a point of speaking to everyone, even the children. I remember what that was like when I was a kid. We should all listen a little more, we might be surprised what we learn, even from a child.

  9. That's rather sad, if even her mum didn't speak to her. But it might be that she was the kind of child who doesn't like to talk at social gatherings, may be shy or something. I think you were right to say nothing, unless they were being actively unkind to her, it could be that people did smile at her or hand her things when you were not looking.

  10. It breaks my heart when children become invisible to adults. So very sad for this tiny forgotten heart.

    God bless ya sweetie and have yourself a splendid kinda day!!!

    I have a story of a little 'special' gal and a miracle myself!!!

  11. How very sad! I'm surprised she didn't get a bit fussy after all that time. It would certainly have been deserved but perhaps she also has a wise head on her young shoulders and knew it was better to say nothing. People can be so unkind at times. I sometimes wonder if they know how cruel it is to ignore a small child, bad enough as an adult.

  12. During my time in the Air Force my buddies would claim it was my birthday every time we went out to eat. I must have had had Happy Birthday sung to me by waiters and waitresses over 20 times one year.

    *sigh* Those were the day... heh...

  13. We are often blind to the feelings of others, but when it's a little person as in this case that's so so sad. Highlighting something like this is commendable Valerie, it will make us be more thoughtful.
    Hope you have a lovely weekend :)

  14. I remember growing up with that 'children are to be seen and not heard' mentality--it was hard. I feel sorry for the young lady. I'da been talking with her and ignoring the grownups I'm sorry to say. I love young people, they're so much fun!

    Hard to watch it happen, I'm sure....


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