I have loved reading & writing since, well, since I was learning to read via “Dick & Jane“. Not only did I love learning the words that were made by the infinite combinations of letters, but it was, hmmmmm, tactile! I loved feeling the words forming on my tongue & in my throat, & later feeling the creativity of my hand forming words on paper.
I attended a Catholic School (St. Mary’s) for grades 1 – 6, & we had a very strong readin’ writin’ & ‘rithmatic background. I transferred to the public junior high for 7th & 8th grades, & my language arts teachers for both grades gave me accelerated work to do cuz I already knew the stuff they were teaching the other kids. I was introduced to the poetry of ee cummings. WOW!
In high school, I was bored in my english class most of the time, & in my junior year I was failing at midterm. I had the worst “teacher” I had ever experienced… She was tenured, old, worn out, & would stand in the front of the classroom everyday blabbing on about stuff we had learned or read in grade school. My Mom made a deal with me… Bring up my grades in the class (“You could be teaching this class, so just PASS the damn tests!”) & she would let me take night english classes at the junior college nearby! I agreed, passed junior english with a C, and started taking college classes. I always got A’s in my college english classes, btw. (yay for me!)
I initially planned to study journalism in college (I worked at a radio station for 2 years in the news department during my junior college years). But when I transferred to Northern Illinois University, the journalism we were “learning” about was a bit different than what I had done in the field, so I changed my major to psychology because I found the field interesting & it came easily for me… Except I had to take Statistics. I tried 3 semesters, & dropped it 3 times. Then changed my major to History, with a strong minor in Psych. Well, the more history classes I took, the more papers I got to write! I was thrilled! Only thing I struggled with was the fact that most of my profs got their PhD’s from the Columbia school of historical interpretation via Marx. Except my Russian/Soviet history prof… He escaped his home nation of Georgia during the Stalin purges, and was not very impressed with communism/socialism.
I worked in the university library for a year & a half after getting my BA before I started a career in law enforcement, & it was fantastic! I was surrounded by books, I got to read on my breaks, & had started working on a master’s in library science. Once I became a cop, my focus changed, although during my career, I did spend a total of 6 years assigned to the state police academy. I taught, tested, supervised, & tutored cadets/recruits. I supervised Academic Development, Instructor Development, Curriculum Development, Legal Training, Testing… & a bunch more stuff. I oversaw the revision of all the academic/legal training curricula into a standard measurable Goals & Objectives format. & I taught Report Writing. & Remedial English. I taught these college graduates how to write a sentence. I taught cadets how to write a police report in first person, making sure they knew how to use correct punctuation. & I was working on finishing my Master’s in history through the University of Illinois at night. & I discovered three of my all-time favorite books during this time: The Transitive Vampire – A Handbook of Grammar for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed (Karen Elizabeth Gordon); The Well-Tempered Sentence – A Punctuation Handbook for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed (Karen Elizabeth Gordon); & Writing Down the Bones – Freeing the Writer Within (Natalie Goldberg).
Which brings me to…. and per se and. TRIVIA ALERT!!!!! This was the 27th letter of the english alphabet into the mid/late 1800’s. It supposedly originated with Roman scribes in the 1st century AD who, when they wrote the Roman word “et” (and) in cursive, they would use “&”.
According to Dictionary.com: “The word ‘ampersand’ came … when ‘&’ was actually part of the English alphabet. In the early 1800s, school children reciting their ABCs concluded the alphabet with the &. It would have been confusing to say ‘X, Y, Z, and.’ Rather, the students said, ‘and per se and.’ ‘Per se’ means ‘by itself,’ so the students were essentially saying, ‘X, Y, Z, and by itself and.’ Over time, ‘and per se and’ was slurred together into the word we use today: ampersand. “
MORE TRIVIA!!!! The “&” is, therefore, a MONDEGREEN!!!! A mondegreen is a word or phrase resulting from a misinterpretation of another word or phrase that we hear… You know, “There’s a Bathroom on the Right”… by Three Dog Night…
Final thought…. I love books & reading. This past year I downloaded the Kindle application to my computer & started reading on my laptop. For Christmas, The Mrs, her Mom, Sis, & Bro-in-Law chipped in to buy me an iPad so I could read on that. So now THIS >>>>
is gonna replace this>>>>>>