"A Mortifying Mistake"

by Anna Maria Pratt

 

I studied my tables over and over
And backward and forward too
But I couldn't remember six times nine
And I didn't know what to do
'Til my sister told me to play with my doll
And not to bother my head
"If you call her 'Fifty-four' for awhile
You'll learn it by heart', she said.

So I took my favorite, Mary Anne,
Though I thought 'twas a dreadful shame
To give such a perfectly lovely child
Such a perfectly horrible name,
And I called her my little Fifty-four
A hundred times 'til I knew
The answer of six times nine
As well as the answer of two times two.

Next day, Elizabeth Wigglesworth,
Who always acted so proud
Said, "Six times nine is fifty-two,
And I nearly laughed out loud
But I wished I hadn't when teacher said,
"Now Dorothy, tell if you can."
For I thought of my doll and sakes alive!
I answered, "Mary Anne!"

 
Millie LaGue (1904-2001) learned this poem when she was a child.  She later shared it with her granddaughter, Michelle, to put a little humor into the dreaded Times Table Drill.  We hope you share this poem with some one else struggling with 'six times nine' and 'nine times six'.

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