Significant Stuff

July 17, 2010

I am my mother’s daughter.  Complex, raucous, pitiful, chunky, anguished, inspired, thick, joyous, funny, literate, undereducated, overexperienced, and underpaid.  But, I know how to pronounce ennui.

I remember a turning point in my relationship with my mother when I started to correct her pronunciation.  She read more than anyone ever, but rarely had opportunity to converse with people outside their where’s-my-food-stamps focus.  She knew all these words, but hadn’t heard them out loud.  So, when I was old enough for her to use those words, I became one of her outlets.  Eventually, I added the element of having heard these words as well as having read them.  That’s when pronunciation was added to her spectrum.

In retrospect, I realize I wasn’t the only one.  She had a pretty broad spectrum of AA friends that she liked to brag about.  The alcoholic lawyer, doctor or successful business person she came into contact with understood the concepts she was attempting to convey.

My sister knows most of those words now that she’s almost finished with her bachelor’s degree.  I hope she’s had opportunity to talk with mom during some lucid moments over the past few years.  I’ll bet that the tone and content of the conversations have changed.

Yes, I am talking about my mother in the past tense.  No, she hasn’t died.  Physically.  But much of that magnificent brain has gone to sleep.  In her honor, I will talk with people.  In my inadequate, stilted, earnest way.  And I will thank her for the gift of words.


Susan Scot Fry

Update… I used to suck at conversation.  Now I’m adequate.  I can contribute.  I’m still not a debater, much to my husband’s chagrin.  I still have the immediate reaction of debate=argument=someone’s mad at me=I’m a failure.  BUT, I can have conversation.

Thanks for the words, Mom.  I’ve learned to string them together.


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