Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!

"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

For old quotes, look here.

Monday, December 29, 2008


When I was a little girl, I sojourned for a few years with my grandparents. They had a big, old, Georgian Revival house in Little Compton, a solid, three-story (storey?)place built when people still had live-in servants and heated their homes with fireplaces in almost every room.

I loved that house.

My room was up on the third floor of the house, where there were several bedrooms and attics. The attics were necessary, because apparently back when the house was built, they didn't believe in closet space. Seriously, the closets were tiny! Lucky for me, I didn't have or want a lot of clothes.

My grandfather was, in my eyes, a giant of a man. Well over six feet tall, broad shouldered, keen eyed, quick witted, and very much used to his ways. He was a man of habits, of patterns, and you could set your clock by his days. It must have been like inviting the wind to dine, having us kids in the house, but he managed, and we often had good fun together - at least, he and I did...I don't know if he and Big Brother ever managed to find trouble to get into, or if they were just planets orbiting the same sun on different courses.

Papa liked his quiet. He would often yell, voice like some terrible great canon shooting upstairs "YOU KIDS BE QUIET UP THERE!!!" when we were a little...enthusiastic...in our play. Or even of we walked or ran a bit harder than he liked. Our noise interrupted his pondering.

I learned to walk and run without making a noise, despite the occasional creaky floorboard.

In those days, we didn't breakfast all together - each member of the household would fend for themselves, usually making a meal of fruit and cereal, or maybe a croissant or toast.

On rare occasions, I would rise early enough to have breakfast with Papa. It was a quiet affair - no idle chatter, just two people eating their cereal, he with his coffee and I with my juice. If you didn't see us, you'd never know we were there. This happened most often in the summer months, when I would have days full of sailing, swimming, and rattling around the town on the steel-bodied three-speed bike that I adored.

Papa didn't like loud or piercing noises - they broke his reverie, shattered his peace. We learned not to slam doors, to shout, scream, or even cry too loudly in his presence. he wasn't an ogre, just a man who had been done raising children for decades and used to his hours passing without fanfare, and we rather upset that apple cart with our presence.

All this to say - I am a woman who likes quiet. At least in the morning. On the rare days I'm first up, you wouldn't know it. I can walk, dress, perform my morning toilet, breakfast, and leave the house without making a sound. I know which parts of the floor creak (most of them, these days) and can avoid them as a matter of habit.

I like quiet, in the morning.

I am, it seems, alone in this, at least in my home. Our roommate slams doors and uses the garage as his entry and exit point to the house...up goes the door, and down. Up, and down. If he forgot something in his car...up...down... I wouldn't mind so much if Bird's room wasn't right over the garage. Have you ever had to get up because your child is up much earlier than he wants to be? And he's cranky about it? And the other parent in the house apparently doesn't ever hear the child wake up, so even though you went to bed hours after he did, you still have to be the one up unless you boot his ass out of bed with both feet and a pry-bar?


This morning was actually typical - T's personal cell phone rang. Twice. He didn't hear it until I grabbed his foot and woke him up, quite cross. I don't like his ring-tone - it's a System of a Down song that sounds like a cat is horking up something awful in the next room. It's loud, discordant, and exactly what T needs in a ring-tone because otherwise he would be deaf to it all the time, not just when he's sleeping. Mum was here overnight. She found the creaky floor bit when she came upstairs for breakfast. I didn't know cereal could make that much noise. Spoon against bowl, clapper against bell. T launched right into his concerns about some survey markers that recently sprouted in our woods (he's convinced a four-lane highway is going in back there) and today's example of why Obama is the incarnation of evil and is single-handedly going to destroy the United States by the end of January. They had a conversation about it...full volume. Two of the cats began a chorus of meows because they wanted pats and love from their humans. T's computer beeped and booped. Sneezes at full volume are not unusual. The ice dispenser drumming cubes into a cup. Coughs cracking like gunshots through the house.

Luckily, I wanted to be up early, because I believe I would have otherwise been justified in committing homicide. You'd back me up, right??

In my next life, I'm going to be a monk...in a monastery...one with vows of silence...at least in the morning.


RachelW said...

A little cabin in the woods, without power, without neighbours, without a road nearby... just a little goat cart-style trail leading in, lined with wildflowers and banana slugs. Imagine how silent the world is without the fridge humming, the computer beeping, the garage door slamming, the phone ringing... how perfect the world is.


Now if those damn birds would just stop chirping at dawn! ;)

The Glamorous Life said...

I loved this post and can really relate. I would love to hear more about your grandpa and the time you spent there...sounds...interesting.

Annie Anderson said...

Oh, I can so relate! I have 4 kids and I often seriously wish that either they came with mute buttons or I was deaf. ;-) LOL

Like right now . . . my 10 year old is rattling his lego's . . . .

Oh to have some peace and quiet.

~ Annie

Kyddryn said...

Rachel, I feel ya...oh, what a lovely retreat that would be! I don't mind the birds, though - I can sleep right through them!

Glamorous one, I'm sure I'll be telling tales of Papa again - I loved him so!

Annie, welcome! I think it must be a mom thing, this desire for the occasional silent day. Oh, and those legos - I swear, they have tiny, built in speakers set at maximum amplification at all times - Oy!