"Language, as well as the faculty of speech, was the immediate gift of God." ~ Noah Webster

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Mama's Revenge - Spending Treasure

"What's the matter? Don't you care about your kids education?"

 The sales woman had been relentless; finally ending her spiel with these words. I was probably about nine years old. I really don't remember for sure, but I never, ever forgot those words...or my mama's revenge.

The sales woman was trying to sell my folks a set of encyclopedias. This was the 1960's; long before the internet. The 20 - 22 volume encyclopedias are a thing of the past now, but everyone had a set back then.

I remember my dad was there, too. His work was seasonal and often took him away from home to work. Obviously this was a time when Daddy was out of work. I didn't tell them, but I wanted that set of encyclopedias in the worst way! I knew it would be much easier to get our school assignments done, and the truth is - I wanted to be like everyone else.

 I don't remember much of what Dad said. Thinking back, I guess I am a bit surprised they listened to this woman as long as they did. Finally, at her rude question my dad answered.

 "Isn't it ok with you if we can't afford them right now?" Daddy questioned right back.

That was all it took. The incorrigible woman got the message. She got ready to leave. And just as she opened the door, my mama got her two cents in. "They are all A students anyway!" she politely explained, but with just a bit of "I am not going to take this anymore" in her voice.

I was proud of her. I was proud of both of them. I knew how wrong this woman was when she was so arrogantly and condescendingly talking to my parents this way, in their own home.

It wasn't too much longer after that, Daddy got us a brand new set of encyclopedias. World Book, I believe, though I think I remember him originally wanting Britannica. It doesn't matter; my folks made sure their kids had a set of encyclopedias as soon as they were able. I cherish the fact that my folks did this for their kids. And I cherish this memory. I have thought of it many times over the years. My mild and reserved Mama got a final word in, that day, with a woman who deserved a bit of my mama's revenge.

All of my siblings and I used the encyclopedias for school, and I am pretty sure that my younger sister, sat and read through them over and over and over.  I hope that memory is accurate. I will have to remember to ask her if that part of my memory is true.

Now my son has that same set of encyclopedias and I couldn't be happier knowing that. When it was time to move my folks out of their home of 55 years, we had a garage sale with things they no longer needed, or could take with them. When Matt saw the encyclopedias, he told me he wanted them for his own home. I had bought Matthew a used set when he was in school. I had always told him, "Yes, I know these are outdated and we have everything easily available to us on the internet, now, but this set is from the 1960's. With the rewriting of our history these days, these books are going to be far more accurate then a lot of stuff on the internet. No one can change what is already written down in a set of educational books. We will use these for confirmation of any new information we might read."

We used the encyclopedias a lot in his schooling, and now I am curious to know the year of the set my folks bought. I will have to remember to ask Matt to check.

I loved the fact that he wanted this set, and happily set them aside for him, contributing $15.00 to the garage sale pot -  a mere pittance to what my parents had originally paid. I had shared the story with him, and how hard they were to come by for my family. That meant something to Matthew and I loved that he was now getting them. I suspect my reasoning will be even more relevant when he has a family in school. The words written on these pages will be priceless.

That rude and relentless woman had no idea how much my family cared and still does! This mama feels a little revenge, too...even all these years later.



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