Friday, September 11

Language Shift

This is an old poem from an old children's book I've successfully managed to hold onto nearly my entire life. I think it's the oldest souvenir from the earliest reach of my lifespan that I currently possess. That sounds unwieldy but I trust you know what I'm trying to say.

I won the book as part of a contest in elementary school, when I attended St. Joseph's in Chehalis, WA. I think it was in second grade: at the end of the year, Mrs. Ludvickson (I can recall the names of my 2nd and 3rd grade teachers, but not 1st grade) had a series of contests and was giving, as prizes, little tokens we'd spent the year with: room decorations, books, props, etc. This particular children's book is from the early 1900's and our teacher read from it or had us read from it frequently.

I was starved to know all of the stories and poems inside it, and I was deeply, deeply attracted to the '20s art deco style it affected. I have no idea whether anyone else in my class gave a rat's ass about this book, but I absolutely had to have it. How fortunate for me, then, that I bested the contest for this book (now I disremember what it was) and brought it home, this treasured prize. That means I've had it for 31 years, and the book itself was much older than that when I won it.

As for this poem, I discovered my wife cannot read it without breaking into giggles.

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