Thursday, November 17, 2011
One of my earliest memories is hearing dad tell mom that I was certainly a “volubly verbal” young lady. I was so thrilled! What a nice thing to say, I thought, preening. And I loved the sound of those words and the way they rolled off his tongue. It wasn’t until I was a bit older that I figured out he was saying that I talked a lot! He had a way with words himself. This is the same man who once explained a mirage to me while we were on a road trip one summer. “It’s simply the angulation of the reflectation,” he informed me. I liked the sound of those words too, and they made a certain kind of sense, although I’ve never been able to find any other source for such a description.
Dad and mom were both great readers and encouraged me and my siblings to do the same. I guess I’m the one who took wordiness to the limits. I persuaded my patient and ever supportive parents to turn the garage over to me as a neighborhood theater. While they parked their cars to the side of the driveway in tandem, meaning they constantly had to reposition them to get in and out; I converted the interior to my own version of the proscenium arch. With the help of an old sofa, a couple of mismatched straight chairs, a battered coffee table and a floor lamp, I proceeded to mount quite a few local productions starring my friends. I rewrote some old standards, such as “Little Women” and “Pride and Prejudice” as one act plays which could all be done in a living room setting. I also did a bunch of “I Love Lucy” rip offs and some special productions of a gem called “Howdy Doody” for the little kids on the street.
After awhile I exhausted my repertoire, turned the garage back over to my parents and took up journalism. I had a two page newspaper with absolutely fascinating tidbits of local news about people on my street and the adjoining ones. I hand printed the articles, my dad’s long-suffering secretary duplicated them and I sold them for a nickel a copy. My top circulation was 33 customers and I was delighted with that. Dad turned censor though when I wrote a verbatim account of a fight the couple who lived next door had one day. Apparently I even spelled all the cuss words right (which is probably what disturbed dad the most). In any event, I was out of the newspaper business, at least for a few years.
I was one of those kids who edited the grammar in high school newspapers and annuals. It was inevitable that I study journalism in college. It was the thing I loved to do most. I free-lanced for the first 25 years of our marriage, writing up events for Air Force base and/or local newspapers where we were stationed. Thirty-one years ago last month I started writing for this newspaper and am blessed that as I approach my dotage I still have my hand in the business.
I guess dad was right – whether it’s the spoken or written word, for me it’s still talk, talk, talk, talk, talk.
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