Wednesday, March 28, 2007
New Beginning 247
“Because you can see that, can’t you, honey?” she said in her quick, nervous voice. My aunt, a woman with big, swollen, thyroid eyes and a propensity for wearing striped shirt-waisted dresses, a childless aunt-by-marriage who rattled on relentlessly about things I knew I never wanted to know, patiently and insistently explained why the name Eileen had to be spelled Ilene.
“If it starts with an E the name has to be pronounced with the sound of an E, the full sound, you know, like the word E-ven.” The Oxford English Women’s First Names Pronunciation Committee had moved its headquarters to the middle of American nowhere, and was in fact chaired by this woman who had barely managed to finish high school. Or so I'd been told - about the high school part, anyway.
She, the aunt with the logic flow of a turnip, knelt down, looked my small self dead in the eyes and asked me again, to make sure I understood. “You can see that, can’t you?”
“Why, yes,” I said, knowing and accepting I was trapped here for the time being, and counting the minutes until I was picked up. I figured maybe I had ten to go. “I can.”
It was too much; I couldn’t stand it. I reached for Auntie’s dictionary -- I loved dictionaries and the way my finger fit into the lettered thumbholes down the edge. I flipped it open to “E” and flicked the pages looking for Eileen. Strange: not there. Out of curiosity I turned to “I.” There was Ilene! Odd. I started to shuffle through the pages: Filossofer; Krissmuss; Oksfird . . . What the . . . ? This didn’t make any sense. I closed the book and looked at the front. Eevul Edditters Dikshunery.
Krapp, I thought. Dat figgers.
Opening: Robin S......Continuation: Anonymous