Friday, April 5, 2013

Invitation, Inheritance, Coincidence

My invitation arrived on the morning of April Fools Day, so I thought it was a prank. Being a good librarian, I did my research and found out that yes, the invitation was legitimate, and holy crap, I was about to have a very large, very far-reaching megaphone to broadcast my thoughts.

I've had a lot of grand ideas of what to say, so this is going to be a mishmash of those grand ideas. One of my greatest faults: I'm an idea person, but I have more ideas than I can legitimately deliver upon. Over the years, I've learned to put those ideas out there and just let other people run with them. It hurts the first few times that someone makes something successful out of your idea, but you get over it after a while.

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Things I Hope that My 15-Month Old Daughter Inherits From My Family: -My father's charm and charisma -My mother's determination -My brother's sensitivity to others' feelings

She has my grandmother's (and my great-great-grandmother's) name. She has my looks and my husband's build. I hope she has my confidence and my husband's empathy. I think she is clever, a quick learner, and a delight to be around, even when she's teething.

(She also has my flair for the dramatic, as evidenced by her infrequent-but-entertaining tantrums, which consist of lying on her stomach on the floor with her bottom in the air, not making much noise other than an occasional whine.)

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Two coincidences:

-When I was 18, I had a boyfriend who told me that he could never fall in love with anyone because a girl broke his heart when he was in seventh grade. She had a very memorable name and was the bane of my existence. I never met her, but I couldn't stand her. Years later, I had a job as a writing tutor, and she was one of my colleagues in the writing lab. Once I got to know her, I told her the story, and she told me that she never knew that he even had a crush on her.

-One of the women in my department at work is the best childhood friend of an ex-boyfriend's mother. I had a long, drawn-out, often contentious relationship and two very ugly breakups with this ex, so I do not ask about him--although I do love it when she tells me unsolicited stories about his various misfortunes. (Sometimes I am not a very nice person, but neither was he, so I feel justified.)

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While driving home yesterday, I wondered if among the 20,000+ of you are people from my past, long gone from my life. Perhaps Danny Stratten, who I met at a rave in St. Louis in October of 1992, or Eric Hart, who gave me a tulip outside an Urbana house party in spring 1993, or David McCarty, the Mississippi State pre-law student who spent a memorable night wandering San Antonio with me in October of 1994. Or Laura Ortman, one of the first friends I made when I started college at Millikin University in the fall of 1991, who was one of the most genuinely talented people I have ever met. Even in this age of constant connectedness, I don't know these people any more, but I think that I would like to, even if it's just for the sake of nostalgia.

Nanette Wargo Donohue
Champaign, IL
librarian.nanette[AT]gmail.com

P.S. Thanks to Jenny B. for introducing me to the Listserve. I hope she gets to post, since she's one of the most fascinating people I know.

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