Date: Tue, 22 Feb 1994 10:04:03 -0500


Subject: second thoughts

I seent a message to you-all (y'uns in Pittsburgh) yesterday but typed

a letter wrong in the address and got back that terrifying message "un

deliverable mail" with phrases like "illegal domain" in it. Scares me so

I hesitate to answer the door for fear a federal agent is waiting outside to

arrest me. I'll try again. I was speculating on how much regional dialect

might be the result of an innocent mispronunciation being picked up, passed

on and preserved. When I was seven, our maid served me every morning a

"porched" egg. I would eat it and go off to school, wonderin why it was

called porched. Because it should be eaten on a porch, or cooked on a porch?

But even in KC it was too cold in the winter to do that. I finally decided

that the brown piece of toast under the egg could be considered a porch;

therefore porched egg. Unfortunately, my mother eventually straightened me

out. What if she hadn't and I had taught my children and all my students about

porched eggs? REGIONAL DDIALECT! Years later I had a marvelous cleaning woman who could have given Thurber's Della a run for her money. Her best occurred the morning she called after me as I left for work to tell me that she probably

wouldn't get as much done as usual because her various veins were really

bothering her. I mulled that over all morning, knowing it wasn't right but

unable to think of what she should have said until in the middle of a lecture

on the influence of the hacienda culture in the Southwest, I suddenly said--to

the great confusion of the class--VARICOSE! Mary also told me every spring

that we had the nicest forcynthia in the neighborhood. I loved that word and used it until my four year old asked why, since nobody named cynthia lived at our

house, didn't we have a bush called formartha. Ijust looked at him and said,


well, it wouldn't be as pretty and it certainly doesn't sound as good." Mary

liked my zinnies too. I still grow them--in memory of Mary.

Sure hope this goes through. I will never have the energy to do it again.