My Alphabetized Existence/The Letter A
A couple of days ago I wrote about a book I'd read called
Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life. I'm going ahead with my
idea of writing my own list. I worried a bit at first about
what I should do if, after writing my list for the letter A,
for example, I thought of other topics beginning with that
letter that I wanted to write about. Oh, that was easy!
When I'm finished writing all the letters I'll just add an
Addendum in which I'll add all the items I missed the first
So here's my list for the letter A:
Alphabet, learning the
My mother told me that I knew the alphabet when I
was three. I was certain she was wrong, that I couldn't
have been that young, but maybe I was. All four of my sons
also knew their alphabet by the same age. And I don't mean
being able to recite the alphabet either. I mean they could
recognize and name the letters, both lower case and upper
Unfortunately for me, I learned it with the French
pronunciation but began school in the United States. When
the first grade teacher asked if anyone knew the alphabet I
proudly raised my hand. She asked me to stand and recite it
but after I said a few letters she said with disgust, "You
don't know the alphabet! Sit down!" I was confused. It was
only later that I realized the problem was that I was
pronouncing the names of the letters in French, not English.
I also annoyed this same teacher by persistently asking her
why letters had the shapes they did and why they were in the
order they were. It wasn't until I was an adult that I
found an entire book on this subject and was delighted to
find that there were others who had not only wondered the
same thing but had been persistent enough to find the
answers. (See also; library card, my first)
I believe that there are angels who take human
form. I have met at least one.
These are not to be confused with "aunts" which
has its own separate entry. Ants are fascinating little
creatures and I spent many hours studying them the summer I
was eight. They are also pesky. I am certain that the
little town I live in is built on a giant ant hill as every
spring everyone in town complains about the ants invading
Anxious, things that make me
Being on time When I have an appointment I
always work backwards. Let's see I need to be there at 8:40
a.m. It'll take me about a half hour to drive there--no,
better make it 40 minutes because of rush hour traffic and
10 minutes to find a parking space and the right room. I'll
leave at 7:50 a.m. That should get me there on time.
Remembering someone's name I'm always
nervous when I'm meeting someone new and I have to
concentrate or I won't remember their name. When I do
remember I'm inordinately proud of myself but I have been
embarrassed on more than one occasion when I've not quite
gotten the name right, like calling someone named Penny Peggy.
Large groups of people I don't like being in
large groups of people and will do my best to avoid it.
I've found this has gotten worse as I've gotten older. I
don't know if it's from years of living in the country or
just age but I don't go to any event that will have more
than a hundred people if I can avoid it.
I love apples, especially the old fashioned
variety which have a real taste to them. When we bought our
country home we planted an orchard full of heirloom apple
trees. My favorite is Sheepnose.
Fresh apricots remind me of when I spent two
weeks at the home of a friend in Palmdale the summer after I
finished first grade. Her mother bought two flats of fresh
apricots. I had never seen this exotic and strangely
colored fruit with its delicate scent before and I was
entranced. My friend, whose name I've long since forgotten,
and I ate so many we were sick for days.
I enjoy wearing aprons. They make me feel
efficient and domestic. I like the bib style best as they
protect more of my clothes. They need to have pockets too,
to gather small objects I find in places where they
shouldn't be--pens, rubber bands, paper clips. When we
lived out in the country I would be able to see someone
heading for our house long before they'd actually arrive.
That would give me time to remove my apron and I would be
able to greet them looking fresh and neat.
I also like collecting aprons, especially the
glamorous, impractical ones made of sheer organdy with
delicate embroidery and bits of lace. These are not for
wearing, only for display as the works of domestic art that
Folk art is made by those who are compelled to
make art out of whatever materials they have lying about.
If they make something functional they want it to be
beautiful and elegant and whimsical too. They don't copy
other people's ideas. You're not likely to find them taking
art classes. They're not perfectionists. The art, the
beauty, is inside them and they have to find a way to let it
out no matter what. And they do.
I began making these over a year ago. They are
small manila tags which are embellished with copies of old
photographs, buttons,ribbons, lace, and other ephemera. A
few are intensely personal and others are generic.
You can see some I've made on my webshots page
Aunts are wonderful to have because they're sort of
like mothers, but they're not. They care about you but
they're not as intense and they don't mind spoiling you in
ways your mother might not. You can confide in aunts and
ask them any question you like. They're not judgmental and
when you ask them a serious question they'll think quietly
for a minutes before answering. They're not shocked easily.
I envy those who have aunts with sturdy and plain
names like Mabel and Betsy and Joan; you can tell just by
the names that they're trustworthy. My aunts have names
like Madeleine and Francoise and Therese but even with their
more glamorous names my aunts are still down to earth and