Wednesday, June 12, 2019

All in a name

While talking with daughter #2 last night, I remembered something from way back in my life that I thought she'd get a kick out of hearing. She was rather down in the dumps, but I didn't think this little tale would send her into paroxysms of laughter. 
It did.

Okay. Going back to first grade, start of 1955. Mrs. Dutcher's class.We were learning how to sound out letters, phonetically. She would tap her pointer at the letter of the alphabet that ran across the front of the classroom and sound it out for us. A, well that was uh, but different, she'd get to that later. B, that was buh. C was cuh, D was on and so forth.
It was enough sounding for us to be able to recognize the sound of CAT. Simple words. But an adventure for me. I had always wondered what the letters I could write sounded like. Eager to learn to read.

Once we had enough sounds associated with letters, the simple words began. We'd get out our Puzzle Pages and round tip scissors and that inevitable blob of paste on yellow math paper and proceed to cut out the answers to the pictures and paste them onto the page with gobs of paste. The pages, when done, would curl and never really dry out. It was up to Mrs. Dutcher to check them off into her grade book. I don't remember if there was a grade, just a check or check minus. I don't remember whether kids ever got these things wrong because I never did.

Anyway, the day came when we were divided into three reading groups. Red, Blue and Yellow. We got strips of construction paper as bookmarks in our appropriate colors. Red was the highest group.
So on down the line. 

Then, joy of joys, we got to open our readers and find the adventures of Dick, Jane, Sally, Tim and Spot.

Heaven. I could read their rather stilted little adventures and what was most important of all, I was reading. Sounding out the words was easy since we knew the Buh, Cuh, Duh, Eff, Gee...all those.

But, now here is where I made Karyn laugh.

That first day, filled with enthusiasm and pride, I realized that if I could read it, I could write words. So. This is the gnarly part.

There was this older kid down the street who I thought was incredibly handsome. Older than I was by 6 years, I had an instant crush on him. So, now that I knew how to read, I decided to write his name on a torn out piece of white construction paper, so I did.
Slipped it into the corner of my bureau mirror and there it remained for a long time.

The guy's name was DICK. I printed it carefully and left it in the mirror so that every day I could look at it and pine in my 6 year old way. He was a nice kid. The whole family was nice. Nobody ever noticed that slip of paper.

So, when I told this to the daughter, she went nuts, laughing her head off. See, she never got to read about Dick and Jane and Sally.
I don't know what she read, but it wasn't about that crew.

I had to laugh, myself, at her laughter, not the memory of that Dick.

After she stopped laughing with a hiccup, I mused...funny, I've been writing about Dick for years now.

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