Friday, February 26, 2010

Cherries in Winter



This was a wonderful book. If written in Utah you would call it a family history book, but since it was done in the East, it is a memoir with recipes. This is a book I would recommend to everyone. It was uplifting, funny and wonderfully written. It is the type of book that can give you a bit more backbone to get through your own problems, when you realize that people have been surviving their problems for many, many years. Go out and get yourself a copy!

Ok, now I have to give a quote from a book that is none of the above things. When I am pregnant, especially near the end, when I'm practically on bed rest, like now, I read light mysteries. I've been reading a series by Sarah Strohmeyer in which the protagonist is a hairdresser named Bubbles. They are funny, completely removed from my own life, and set in the same area my sister lives in, the Lehigh Valley PA. Normally I wouldn't even mention these books, mostly because I'm slightly embarrassed by them, but in this particular book I found something that made me laugh and I wanted to share.

"Says here that a Susan Pendergast graduated three years ago with an M.R.S."
I cleared my throat. "An M.R.S.? I thought that was a joke."
"Not at Two Guys College. Our Matronly Required Studies program is very rigorous. We teach both practical and theoretical, culminating in fieldwork for three months."
"What is it?"
Mrs. Cathobianco clicked down farther. "Essentially, it's expanded and intensified home economics. You know, in this day and age we don't have generations of domesticated women passing down the old skills, from bleaching shower grout and studying the miracles of Borax to catching a financially secure husband."
I walked around to examine her computer scree. "And that's what Susan studied? Shower grout?"
"With PA certification. Pennsylvania housekeeping is a specialty. Only the most qualified can meet its standards. You've really got to master your toothbrush as the ultimate cleaning tool." She hesitated. ""It says here Miss Pendergast excelled in the practical-- laundry whitening, husband catching and coupon clipping--and aced her thesis on "The Versatile Cassava: It's Not Just for Dessert." . . .
"Seems Miss Pendergast was a tad weak on the theoretical." She pointed to a word I didn't recognize. "Schadenfreude, for example, the German expression for taking joy in a neighbor's pain. It's required for Pennsylvania certification but Miss Pendergast nearly failed it. Fortunately she made up for the low grade by doing okay in the Art of Surreptitious Gossip."
My toe started involuntary tapping, bothered as I was by what I sensed might be home girl discrimination. "How come I never knew about this M.R.S. stuff? I would have loved to have caught a wealthy husband."
Mrs. Cathobianco spun away from her computer, her eyes full of guidance-counselor sympathy. "I'm sorry Bubbles, but you were in the Study A Broad program. You didn't qualify."
"Abroad? I've never gone past Perth Amboy. How could I have been abroad?"
"Oh, Bubbles, a girl doesn't have to go far to be a broad."
"What does that mean?"
She bit her lip, as I'd seen her do before when she was trying to couch bad news, such as that I was destined for expulsion or that Dan's tuition check had bounced. "Let me explain it more clearly. Miss Pendergast was in the Domestic Studies Program and you were in the A Broad because, well, because you are a . . . broad."
I Blinked.
"A chick. Babe. Broad. That's you." . . .
"I see." I sullenly returned to my side of the desk. "And how did you determine this?"
"Your entrance exams. Listing Diet Pepsi, Tastycakes and Basic cigarettes as three of the major food groups automatically sent you A Broad."

After going to BYU and hearing much joking about the M.R.S. degree, I couldn't help but laugh at that description of community college helpfulness.

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