Saturday, August 19, 2006

still weeding out

Well, I couldn't sleep last night, so I went back to going through boxes of stuff. I found a pile of magazines, some of them about math, from the mid-90's; a few books that I bought on impulse, mostly from the library (very cheap!); some old issues of Liguorian and St. Anthony Messenger, also mid-90's, a fairy tale book from my childhood, inscribed, as most my old books are, with "Reading Room, MHL"; a pile of La Leche League magazines and my long-lost '83 edition of The Womanly Art, and a few New Yorkers from last year and the year before. Hardly worth going through, though I saved the LLL stuff and a few other things, and several articles to read later. (Like I need more reading material!)

The weather here has been very pleasant the past few days, really fall weather. It can't last, but while it's here I have the windows open and fans going (and a/c off -- yay!!) It's almost like being in Burlingame, except that there isn't an ocean 20 minutes away... and a few other differences.

I was thinking some more about the book I posted about a few days ago, The Summer of Ordinary Ways. The way it is written is unusual: it is written ostensibly from the child's point of view, but also is tinged with an understanding of why-things-happened-the-way-they-did that can only come from long years of experience. In the end, it is clear that the author has made an effort to understand her parents, to get her mind around who they were and what they were dealing with in her growing up years. I have done that, too, so this book resonated with me in a deep way. This book also made me realize in a new way how my own children must have experienced the intermittent craziness that would overtake me -- how scary it must have been for them at times, and how confusing. I know I've thought about all that before, but I've never read an account that so clearly illustrates it. The author is one of six siblings, all female (a totally foreign experience for me, having had all brothers) and they all took such different paths, in a sociological sense (at least the ones who were adults at the time the book was written.) That sort of thing is always interesting to me, how people who grow up in the same family can end up with such very different lifestyles and ways of dealing with the world. I know it is really normal for that to happen, and I know about a lot of the reasons why -- how a person is hard-wired, birth order, experiences and influences outside the family and so on -- but it is still amazing. I think there are some families where the children grow up with more similar interests and lifestyles, but I don't see that so often.

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