Feb. 9, 2023 Phil wrote:
I was not gifted with creative talent; I was programmed early in life to be a fussy grammarian, a word merchant, a critic of other people’s creative productions.
I was, nevertheless, gifted with an exceptionally-talented wife, Lilija, who graced me with two of the finest daughters one could hope for–Ramona & Rita.
At the evening meals in our Walden-like cottage just north of Kearney’s railroad tracks, discussions were of words–meanings, sounds, uses. Poetry was recited, verses from Paradise Lost & Shakespeare’s plays were dissected along with lines from The Velveteen Rabbit or Where the Sidewalk Ends. An occasional gyre or spire from Yeats might fly by.
On vacations I drove, Lilija & the girls sat in the back as Lilija read with her vibrant second language (English) The Chronicles of Narnia, The Giving Tree, Charlotte’s Web, along with much more of “. . . the best that has been thought and said in the world.”
At Kearney High Ramona wrote a monthly column for the school newspaper in which she pointed out the delicate differences between words people frequently use interchangeably. Rita’s name appeared on almost every program of the theater & choral music departments.
Ramona went on to teach her own children & elementary school children how to produce haikus & how to love prepositions as well as other elements of writing. Having majored in college theater arts, Rita has completed over 20 years as a well-known stage manager for live theater productions in Chicago.
That’s my story, & I’ll stick with it.
Lilija departed this life almost eleven years ago, but the seeds she sowed, at our dining table on 9th Avenue in Kearney, in the car, on the sofa & at bedsides, are blooming in seven grandchildren (Noah, Maximilian, Zoe, Cassian, Lilija, Veronica, Charlie), in class after class of students in the Garden City, Kansas, public school system, and on the stage before live audience after live audience in Chicago theaters.
One could do worse than being a merchant of words.