I was a reader as a little kid and I read all the time. I was voracious and pretty much devoured books, as many as a dozen a week. My mother firmly believed in letting me read everything, without any kind of censoring. And so, once she had a near-to-violent confrontation with a local librarian who had refused to let me read stuff that wasn’t in the “children’s” section of the library. I was 9 or 10 and the librarian had placed the adult section “off-limits” to me.

Mom1973-3I remember my mother standing there, furious (she didn’t get mad much or often) yelling (she didn’t yell, either): “YOU WILL LET MY DAUGHTER READ ANYTHING SHE LIKES. YOU WILL NOT CENSOR MY DAUGHTER! SHE’S SMARTER THAN YOU ANYWAY. HOW DARE YOU!” Amazingly, it worked. She was definitely physically more imposing when she was enraged.

Now, about “Epitome.” I had read the word in books, but I had never heard it in a sentence, so when I finally used it, I call it eppy-tome. It was a conversation stopper as everyone tried to decipher what it was I was trying to say.

epitome defFinally, someone said “Ah. You must mean epitome.” And so I learned that the emphasis is on the “pit” rather than the “tome.”

I also called Tucson, Arizona “Tuckson.” Another case of not connecting the pronounced name “TOO-sahn” with the printed Tucson. Now you can look everything up, including pronunciation, on the internet, bu we didn’t have an internet. And anyway, if you don’t know you’re pronouncing it wrong in your head, why would you look it up?

You know I’m right.


Categories: Anecdote, dialogue, Humor, Mother and motherhood

Tags: , , , , , ,

23 replies

  1. One of the traits I picked up from my Mom was intentionally incorrectly pronouncing some words like they are spelled (One of my favorites… saying “lingerie” as “LING-er-ee”). I often use this as a mental aid to help spell commonly misspelled words or names…. for example, I always say “sciurine” in my head as “SKY-urine” when I’m writing (and you know I use that word a bunch) to make sure I don’t typo it. Unfortunately, that trick doesn’t keep me from typing “teh” and the wrong “they’re/their” word…


  2. Nice of your mom to say it quietly in the library.


  3. I loved to read as well but probably did not read the volumes of stuff you read. My solution was to get a job in the public library. Of course I was a little older than you when that happened but still considered a less than adult.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love your mother. She was a gem.


  5. My mother also had her head in books — she was an adult before she knew the root of “misled” was not “misl.” And then there was a co-worker who changed ‘para-diggems’ (paradigms) My own confusion, the national anthem, was the “donzerly light” (dawn’s early light!) As you said, there are hundreds of them!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Round John Virgin confused many of us. We thought Mary was the virgin, so who was that round John guy? And why is Jose in our national anthem?

      “Jose can you see by the donzerly light …?”

      And then, there was that elamenoo pee, apparently different from the usual, standard pee.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I was allowed to read anything on the substantial shelves, at home. what I didnt realize what was missing. The 40s Mickey Spillane stuff, The Decameron. I only found Mickey Spillane by accident, and it bored me silly. I waded through every single book on those shelves, however, I can still see me working my way thorugh “Song of Bernadette”, one page at a time.

    My high school english teacher once suggested that “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” was much too mature for a girl (16) my age. “what would your mother say?” I told her she gave me a copy when I was about 11. And at the time I read it for the story of Francie, who was about my age. the rest of it mostly just sailed over my head.

    But I did have the run of the local library, which was a joy. City libraries are stricter, I think. All our local librarian ever said to me was, just don’t fold over the corners. Good advice.

    La Jolla (rhymes with holla ) until I grew up. Valleyo not valley-jo. Baha not Baja. There was a family here in town, name of Pelletier. we pronounced it Pelleteer. There was also a family called Pelcher.
    Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be the same family.


  7. Exactly! Why isn’t Arkansas pronounced ar- kan – sas, like Kansas? Or, why isnt Kansas pronounced Kan-saw?

    I am sure you do it just to confuse us non-English speakers! ;-p

    Liked by 1 person

  8. When I saw the word in the prompt I had to spend some time until I realised what it was all about. I would also say Tuckson were it not for the numerous cowboy films I watched over the years. My mum didn’t bother about what I read. When I told her that John Steinbeck had died her answer was “Who’s he”. I think the only book my dad once brought home was “Lady Chatterly’s Lover”, which it seemed I was not allowed to read. Of course I did, and I am sure I read more pages than my dad did.

    Liked by 1 person

    • When I finally read “Lady Chatterly,” I wonder what all the fuss was about. But when I saw the movie many years later, it was actually kind of sexy. I’m not sure what that proves.

      I had seen lots of cowboy movies. I just didn’t connect the printed word with the city. They didn’t look like they would be the same thing. Who’d have thunk it? My father didn’t read all that much. But my mother always had her head in a book. She was a total book junkie.


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