Friday, April 27, 2018

“I suspicioned you weren’t.”

Sophomore year:

Claudine and I studied The Century Handbook of Writing, giggling all the way. Examples seemed even funnier. When we came to Rule 68, “Avoid faulty diction,” we studied the examples: “Nowhere near. Vulgar for not nearly.” “This here. Do not use for this.” “Suspicion. A noun. Never to be used as a verb.” Our conversation became sprinkled with gleeful vulgarisms we had never used before. When I announced my presence by noisily tap-dancing on the Klums’ wooden porch and probably annoying all the neighbors on the block, Claudine said she was nowhere near ready for school.

“I suspicioned you weren’t.”

Claudine’s reply was something like, “This here shoelace broke.”

We thought our dialogue hilarious. Mrs. Klum sighed as she looked up from Science and Health and said with a smile, “Oh, you silly little girls.”

Beverly Cleary, A Girl from Yamhill: A Memoir (New York: William Morrow, 1988).

[From a 1922 edition of The Century Handbook of Writing, in Google Books.]

Related reading
All OCA Beverly Cleary posts (Pinboard)

comments: 2

Unknown said...

Michael, I often wonder whether you have a gift for finding so many delightful things or a gift for finding the delightful in so many things. Thanks for these excerpts.

Michael Leddy said...

I’m glad you enjoyed them, Stefan. This here post is really due to Elaine — she’s been after me to read Cleary’s memoirs for a while.