Posted tagged ‘pencils’

“To sit alone in the lamplight with a book spread out before you, and hold intimate converse with men of unseen generations — such is a pleasure beyond compare.”

September 11, 2015

The rain fell and kept falling. It rained all day and most of the night. The morning is dark and has that damp chill which sometimes follows rain. The day is uninviting. Everything is still wet. The breeze is enough to blow the branches on the oak trees, and once in a while I can hear the swishing sound leaves make. Other than that the day is quiet.

In school, on days like today, the room was especially quiet. It was as if the darkness had spread a pall on all of us. I remember the sounds of papers being passed up and down rows. I remember heads bent over worksheets and the sounds of our pencils scratching across the papers and up and down. The nun used to sit at her desk sometimes working, sometimes just staring, maybe even daydreaming. None of us even whispered. We didn’t want to disturb the day.

When I got home from school, I had to change out of my school clothes. Most times I’d wear my play clothes, but on days like today I’d put on my pajamas and lie in bed and read. That last one was my favorite. I would grab my latest book, my Nancy or my Trixie Belden, and get comfy under the covers. The lamp on my headboard was the only light and it shined directly on the page. It was wonderfully cozy.

There is still a lamp on my headboard, but it took me a while to find one. When I was a kid, the lamps were plastic and pink. Mine used to melt when I read under the covers. The one I have now is white and the plastic is covered by fabric. It has a Victorian look about it.

I keep a stack of books by my bed because I still love getting cozy under the covers. Most times I read myself to sleep.

“Guilt: the gift that keeps on giving.”

April 4, 2013

The sun is shining but it is not warm, a bit of a deception I think. The sky is deep blue and beautiful. Lots of birds are taking advantage of the free food at the feeders. There is even a waiting line.

Hunky dory was part of an answer in the crossword puzzle today. It got me thinking. I don’t remember the last time I even heard anyone say hunky dory which is too bad as it has a great sound when said out loud, and it is one of those phrases which defies description. It’s a context guess but a tough one. Answer everything is hunky dory and tone alone would have to give the clue.

I do the crossword puzzle every day, and I’m noticing that many of the answers seem too easy. Most of these are historical, but for me, they’re like yesterday as I lived through them. I can imagine a twenty or thirty someone sitting and mulling. In my day, they’d chew on the eraser and mull. Now, I guess they sit at the keyboard. I can’t believe that sitting at the keyboard gives the same sort of help that chewing an eraser did. I was able to fill in every square, and I also did the cryptogram in a short time this morning. I felt smart.

Rhetorical questions were the bane of my childhood. “What do you think you’re doing?” sounds like a legitimate question but giving an answer was talking back. It took me a while to sort that out. “Who do you think you are?” was another one of those questions to avoid. It was usually asked when I’d already done something wrong, something above my station. My mother was a master at the rhetorical question. As soon as she asked, “And who do you think is cleaning that up?” I headed to get the whisk broom and the dust pan.

My mother was also the queen of quilt. She got us every time. When she’d ask us to do something and we’d say in a minute, my mother went into her theatrics. “Never mind. I’ll do it myself,” she’d say oozing with self-pity and disappointment. We’d scurry to get done what she wanted. Sometimes, though, she’d add to the guilt by saying, “Too late. I’ll do it myself.” That was a heavy burden to carry, and she knew it. My mother was a master at her art.