Wednesday, October 12, 2011

My fifteenth slice-of-life story...

Grandma's car: A red light sandwich with white inside...

Taillight literacy...

You know, it's practically family folklore --- in my mother's voice the story begins, "One night when you were two years old we were driving through town and suddenly from your carseat you shouted, 'there's Grandma's car!'  Then it always ends something like, "and when I asked how you knew you said, 'those are Grandma's taillights.'"  Still befuddled, my mother recounts events from that traveling conversation as if piecing together clues.

Many makes, models, and college courses later, it came to me: I learned to read and write by first noticing and naming taillights.  Long and skinny for Grandma's sage green Olds.  Tall and skinny for Grandpa's cinnamon Cadillac.  Long and wider with two crossing lines for our tan Caprice.  I began crafting systems and terms that organized observations into information I could use to better understand the world around me.

This summer, the folklore evolved: my two-year-old jumped into the tale.  Warranted: a well placed phone call.

"Mom, we were following a Chevy Impala on the highway 
and Reid said, 'there's Luke's car.'"

"Oh, so Reid is taking a page from your book," her voice trailed off 
as if traveling back in time.

"Mom, the car wasn't even the same color as Luke's.  
How does he know it's like Luke's car?"

"Easy.  The taillights." 

A rounded red brake light anchored by a long, skinny white stripe for reverse.

I can already feel it; we'll be talking about this for years.

Post Script on Current Taillight Identification:
Grandma's Lincoln, Grandpa's Ford pick-up, Crystal's Envoy, our Jeeps

1 comment:

  1. I never would have thought it, but you made it make sense. I do recognize some cars that I know well by the taillights, so guess our two year olds would too. Fun story!


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