Today in my cycling class we were talking about ancestors and family trees. There are some pretty cool branches on the tree but there is one who I feel a great connection with.
My great grandmother was an English teacher. She was affectionately called Stone Face Fitz by her students. She taught during the knuckle rapping days. Although she died before I was born her memory lived on in my mom and grandma.
Whenever I wrote a lazy, sloppy sentence or used poor grammar when I spoke Mom and Grandma would talk about my poor dead great grandmother (Old Stone Face) and the shame I was bringing upon her.
As a result I learned when to say ______ and I instead of me and _________. The word "gots" was eliminated from my vocabulary two days after I learned it. I said "ain't" once. The word came up again in a song in jr. high choir and I couldn't bring myself to sing it.
Despite the fact that my great grandmother was rolling over in her grave at my inability to spell and write a good sentence I still loved reading and I loved writing. My spelling was horrible. I would bring home spelling tests and mom would wonder if there was an ounce of great grandma's blood running through my veins.
Sometimes my mom would read a paper I wrote for school. As she corrected my grammar she told me I was lucky I wasn't one of Fitz's students because my knuckles would have been rapped for sure.
Currently I'm working on a first draft in a class at the Loft and I'm sure it is full of run on sentences, comma splices and dangling participles. I was given some pictures of my great grandmother recently and as I looked at her stern face with her reading spectacles on a chain tucked into her pocket I wondered if she would be horrified by the over abundance of adverbs in my first draft.
I figure it must be OK so far because Fitz's ghost has not come from beyond to rap my knuckles yet.
My grandma was a stock broker. If I ever have children I wonder if I will instill in them the importance balancing a checkbook and investing wisely. Would I ever say things like "Your great grandmother would be rolling in her grave over the state of this portfolio"