Numbers & Letters

The first time I went to school, I learned that I loved letters and hated numbers. Numbers were (still are) confusing, frustrating, and downright exasperating. Letters, on the other hand, became words and they clicked, fascinated, and stockpiled in my brain automatically. Vocabulary lists were my favorite thing. After I learned to read, I never stopped. I never stopped making vocabulary lists either.

But, during the first month as a college student, I learned that neither those early vocabulary lists nor the lists stockpiled throughout the previous forty years were going to cut it in a university classroom.

The day I discovered this, Continue reading Numbers & Letters


For Real

In general, Amish people do not engage in double-speak. They may seem antisocial, discourteous, and have a double-standard of behavior, but they do not beat around the bush or sugar-coat their words, or any other colloquialism you choose to use; instead they call it as they see it, they are succinct, concise, straightforward, and “for real.” I grew up firmly grounded in reality, to say directly what I meant, and to mean what I said.                          [pullquote]I know you believe you understand what you think . . . “[/pullquote] I remember being fascinated by a sentence my younger sister brought home from school one day: Continue reading For Real


My Second First Day of School Ends

As Michelle’s cheery greeting echoed around the room that first morning, there was a chorus of mumbling. Everyone else must share my I-don’t-do-mornings tendency, I thought, while Michelle seems to relish mornings.

In an equally cheery tone, she continued, “I’m expecting you to call me Michelle. Yeah, I do have a newly acquired PhD but we’ll let the Dr-title for those with more experience. Plus it makes me feel old and stodgy.”

I was impressed.

Amish people do not bother with surnames or titles; Continue reading My Second First Day of School Ends


Amish Antisocial Discourtesy

Not only are Amish people terse and action-oriented, some of them surpass terse heading straight toward taciturn and curtly discourteous; in fact they can be perceived as downright antisocial by non-Amish people. Social courtesies are a matter of cultural perspective, and generally speaking, the Amish subculture has two standards of what is and what is not, socially acceptable behavior: one for Amish and another for non-Amish. [pullquote]Social courtesy is a matter of perspective.[/pullquote]

My mother was an excellent example of this. Continue reading Amish Antisocial Discourtesy


My Second First Day of School: Part II

After falling off the edge of the metaphorical cliff, I landed outside Room 320 of the Willard Building that first morning. As I pulled open the door I muttered to myself, “Ach yuck, one thing is for sure, no Amish girls cleaned this place any time recently.” At least these surfaces weren’t quite as skuzzy as the restrooms surfaces, it was there that I made the first mental note to “Buy sanitary wipes ASAP!!” Continue reading My Second First Day of School: Part II


My Second First Day of School: Part I

As the white minivan jerked to a stop, my daughter mumbled, “Sorry, Mom, I can’t seem to remember that this brake pedal is super-sensitive. I think we’re at the corner where you want to be, right?”

“If we’re at the corner of Pollock and Burrows Roads, then yes,” I croaked through the sawdust and butterflies in my throat. I got out of the minivan pointing my long white ‘finger’ at the hot sidewalk. Taking a deep breath, I propped my white walking cane between my legs, hoisted the heavy backpack onto my back, adjusted the straps, tugged my top back down to my jeans, transferred the cane back to my right hand, and sucking my lungs full of air again, stepped off the edge of a cliff . . . Continue reading My Second First Day of School: Part I