Category Archives: Uncategorized

Friends of the Library

The next meeting of the Friends of the Library will be September 18, at 7 p.m. at the library. New members are always welcome.

 

 

New Materials for August

ADULT NON-FICTION

Enjoy Your Journey: Find the Treasure Hidden  in Every Day, Joyce Meyer

Popular: the Power of Likability in a Status- Obsessed World, Mitchell J. Prinstein

A Beautiful, Terrible Thing: a Memoir of Marriage  And Betrayal, Jen Waite

The Path to the Presidency: the Concord Monitor Looks back at Decades of New Hampshire Politics

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power; Your Action Handbook to Learn the Science, Find Your Voice, and Help Solve the     Climate Crisis, Al Gore

Enlightened Aging: Building Resilience for a Long, Active Life, Eric B. Larson

The Dharma of Dogs: Our Best Friends as Spiritual Teachers,

On Trails: an Exploration, Robert Moor

Somebody With a Little Hammer: Essays, Dan Szczesny

The Unwomanly Face of War: an Oral History of Women in World War II, Svetlana Aleksievich

Midnight in the Pacific: Guadalcanal: the World War II Battle That Turned the Tide of War, Joseph Wheelan

American Heroes on the Homefront: the Hearts of Heroes, Oliver North

Hul,e 1968: a Turning Point of the American War In Vietnam, Mark Bowden

Kennedy and King: the President, the Pastor, and the Battle Over Civil Rights, Steven Levingston

Healing Without Hurting: Treating ADHD, Apraxia, and Autism Spectrum Disorders Naturally and Effectively Without Harmful  Medication, Jennifer Giustra-Kozek

ADULT FICTION

Our Little Racket, Angelica Baker

The Fourth Monkey, J. D. Barker

Here and Gone, Haylen Beck

Murder at the Puppy Fest, Laurien Berenson

Fateful Mornings: a Henry Farrell Novel, Tom Bouman

On Her Majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service, Rhys Bowen

Some Kind of Hero: a Troubleshooters Novel, Suzanne Brockmann

Watch Me Disappear: a Novel, Janelle Brown

The Chocolate Bunny Brouhaha, JoAnna Carl

Down a Dark Road, Linda Castillo

Trap the Devil, Ben Coes

A Game of Ghosts: a Charlie Parker Thriller, John Connolly

Red Swan, Peter T. Deutermann

The Marsh King’s Daughter, Karen Dionne

Dark Saturday: a Novel, Nicci French

Unsub: a Novel, Meg Gardiner

Wired, Julie Garwood

The People We Hate at the Wedding, Grant Ginder

The Chalk Artist: a Novel, Allegra Goodman

Y is for Yesterday, Sue Grafton

The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, Hendrik Groen

Threads of Suspicion, Dee Henderson

Impossible Views of the World, Lucy Ives Defectors: a Novel, Joseph Kanon

Crime Scene: Jonathan Kellerman

He Said/She Said, Erin Kelly

The Answers, Catherine Lacey

Let the Devil Out: a Maureen Coughlin Novel, Bill Loehfelm

The Devil’s Muse, Bill Loehfelm

Carolina Gold, Dorothy Love

The Substitute, Nicole Lundrigan

Any Dream Will Do: a Novel, Debbie Macomber

Secrets of the Tulip Sisters, Susan Mallery

You Say It First, Susan Mallery

The Necklace, Claire McMillan

Do Not Become Alarmed: a Novel, Maile Meloy

The Supremes Sing the Happy Heartache Blues: A Novel, Edward Kelsey Moore

Murder Ink 2: Sixteen More Tales of New England Newsroom Crime

Refuge: a Novel, Dina Nayeri

Dis Mem Ber: and Other Stories of Mystery and Suspense, Joyce Carol Oates

Undaunted, Diana Palmer

The Store, James Patterson

Mrs. Fletcher: a Novel, Tom Perrotta

Endgame: a Nameless Detective Novel, Bill Pronzini

The Right Side: a Novel, Spencer Quinn

Two Nights: a Novel, Kathy Reichs

The Ultimatum, Karen Robards

Goodnight from London: a Novel, Jennifer, Robson

Sin of a Woman, Kimberla Lawson Roby

Careers for Women: a Novel, Joanna Scott

House of Spies, Daniel Silva

The Good Daughter: a Novel, Karin Slaughter

The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.: a Novel, Neal Stephenson

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore: a Novel, Matthew Sullivan

An Irish Country Love Story, Patrick Taylor

The Shark Club, Ann Kidd Taylor

Ten Dead Comedians, Fred Van Lente

Devil’s Cut, J. R. Ward

The Force, Don Winslow

Barely Legal: a Herbie Fisher Novel, Stuart Woods

BIOGRAPHY

Between Heaven and the Real World: My Story, Steven Chapman

DVDS

Big Little Lies, Season 1

The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Camping!

Descendants

Doc McStuffins. Mobile Clinic

Gifted

Forks Over Knives

Dunkirk: the Final Tribute

Clue

Dragonheart: Battle for the Heartfire

Beauty and the Beast

Car Go: the City on 4 Wheels

Fireman Sam: Help is Here

Fireman Sam. Hero Next Door

Guess How Much I Love You: Summer Days

A Mermaid’s Tale

PAW Patrol: Marshall and Chase on the Case!

Smurfs, the Lost Village

Noble: a Dream Can Change a Million Lives

Power Rangers

The Shack

Wild Oats

 CHILDREN’S FICTION

Maggie and the Flying Horse, E. D. Baker

Maggie and the Wish Fish, E. D. Baker

A New Friend, Sue Bentley

A Special Wish, Sue Bentley

Wonders of the USA, Carron Brown

Welcome Home! Kristen Earhart

Looking for Winston, Poppy Green

The Maple Festival, Poppy Green

Tractor Mac: Harvest Time, Billy Steers

The Story of Ferdinand, Munro Leaf

Very First Book of Things to Spot (Board Book), Fiona War

 

CHILDREN’S NON-FICTION

Tractors, Emily Rose Oachs

The Usborne Big Book of Stars & Planets, Emily Bone

The Usborne Big Book of Big Animals, Hazel Maskell

How to Brush Your Teeth with Snappy Croc (Board Book) Jane Clarke

Woodland Creatures,, Emily Bone

Bugs, Emily Bone

Super Simple Rain Forest Projects: Fun and Easy Animal Environment Activities, Carolyn Bernhardt

 Protecting Backyard Animals, Paige V. Polinsky

Protecting Rain Forest Animals, Lauren Kukla

Protecting Wetland Animals, Lauren Kukla

Dinosaurs, Katie Lajiness

JUVENILE FICTION

Darius Bell and the Glitter Pool, Odo Hirsch

Hannah’s Winter, Kierin Meehan

The Gossip File, Anna Staniszewski

YOUNG ADULTS FICTION

Dying to Tell Me, Sherryl Clark

The Truth Game, Anna Staniszewski

 

 

New Materials for July

NEW MATERIALS

 ADULT NON-FICTION

Six Women of Salem: the Untold Story of the Accused and Their Accusers in the Salem Witch Trials, Marilynne K. Roach

Growing Each Other Up: When Our Children Become Our Teachers, Sara Lawremce- Lightfoot

The Best of Birds and Blooms

Into the Gray Zone: a Neuroscientist Explores the Border Between Life and Death, Adrian M. Owen

Beautifully Delicious: Cooking With Herbs & Edible Flowers, Liz Barbour

Felted Knits, Beverly Galeskas

Sabotage: The Mission to Destroy Hitler’s Atomic Bomb, Neal Bascomb

ADULT FICTION

Blame, Jeff Abbott

The Toughest Indian in the World, Sherman Alexie

Nine Island, Jane Alison

The Fallen, Ace Atkins

The Child, Fiona Barton

Paradise Valley, C. J. Box

Stillhouse Lake, Rachel Caine

It’s Always the Husband, Michele Campbell

No Middle Name: the Complete Collected Jack Reacher Short Stories (Lg. Print), Lee Child

Beneath Copper Falls, Colleen Coble

Trap the Devil, Ben Coes

The Late Show, Michael Connelly

Crimes Against a Book Club, Kathy Cooperman

Off Season: a Martha’s Vineyard Mystery, Philip R. Craig

Shifting Calder Wind, Janet Dailey

Hello, Sunshine: a Novel, Laura Dave

Zero Sum: a John Rain Novel, Barry Eisler

Dangerous Minds: a Knight and Moon Novel, Janet Evanovich

So Much Blue: a Novel, Percival Everett

Deadfall, Linda A. Fairstein

Seven Stones to Stand or Fall: a Collection of Outlander Fiction, Diana Gabaldon

The Nearness of You, Dorothy Garlock

Unsub: a Novel, Meg Gardiner

Part of the Silence, Debbie Howells

You Will Pay (Lg. Print), Lisa Jackson

Look Behind You, Iris Johansen

New Spring, Robert Jordan

The Other La Boheme, Yorker Keith

The Signal Flame: a Novel, Andrew Krivak

Ginny Moon, Benjamin Ludwig

Take Out: a Mystery, Margaret Maron

The Admissions: a Novel, Meg Mitchell Moore

The Supremes Sing the Happy Heartache Blues: A Novel, Edward Kelsey Moore

Liar’s Key Carla Neggers

Dis Mem Ber: and Other Stories of Mystery and Suspense, Joyce Carol Oates

The Breakdown, B. A. Paris

Murder Games: a Thriller, James Patterson

The Painted Queen, Elizabeth Peters

The Right Side: a Novel, Spencer Quinn

Naughts and Crosses: Stories, Studies, and   Sketches, Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

Anthem, Ayn Rand

Collared, David Rosenfelt

They May Not Mean To, But They Do, Cathleen Schine

Lost and Found Sisters, Jill Shalvis

The Duchess: a Novel, Danielle Steele

Use of Force: a thriller, Brad Thor

The Lying Game, Ruth Ware

The Queen’s Poisoner, Jeff Wheeler

The King’s Traitor, Jeff Wheeler

The Thief’s Daughter, Jeff Wheeler

Cocoa Beach, Beatriz Williams

The Force, Don Winslow

The Life She Was Given, Ellen Marie Wiseman

 BIOGRAPHIES

Obama: the Call of History, Peter Baker

Putin: His Downfall and Russia’s Coming Crash, Richard Lourie

CDS

The Truth According to Us, Annie Barrows

The Night Ranger, Alex Berenson

Wolf in White Van, John Darnielle

The Girl from Summer Hill, Jude Deveraux

Big Girl Panties, Stephanie Evanovich

A World Away, Nancy Grossman

Shadow Maker, James R. Hannibal

An Officer and a Spy, Robert Harris

I am Pilgrim, Terry Hayes

Bone Box, Faye Kellerman

Orange is the New Black, Piper Kerman

The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living, Louise Miller

All the Missing Girls, Megan Miranda

The Castle of Kings, Oliver Potzsch

The Jaguar’s Children, John Vaillant

The Cellar, Minette Walters

DVDS

37 Days

Alpha and Omega Family Vacation

As I Lay Dying

The Boy Next Door

Brian’s Song

Cruel Intentions

Geography Club

The Guest

Harvey

Highway to Heaven, Season 1

Hunting Elephants

In Darkness

Alpha and Omega: Journey to Bear Kingdom

The Last Panthers

 The Lego Batman Movie

Match

Neerja

The Other Guys

Point Break

Son of Saul

A Street Cat Named Bob

The Syndicate: All or Nothing

Walk of Shame

Veronica Mars

What Maisie Knew

What If

Wild Tales

Women in Love

CHILDREN’S FICTION

LMNOP pea-quel, Keith Baker

Monster’s New Undies, Samantha Berger

Posy the Puppy, Jane Clarke

Daisy the Kitten, Jane Clarke

Willow Duckling, Jane Clarke

Pete the Cat and the Treasure Map, James Dean

What Does It Mean to Be Kind? Rana DiOrio

A New Friend, Poppy Green

Arthur and the Best Coach Ever, Stephen Krensky

Walking With Miss Millie, Tamara Bundy

JUNIOR NON-FICTION

Islam, Katie Marsico

Being Transgender, Robert Rodi

Citizenship and Immigration, Tom Lansford

12 Creepy Urban Legends, Kenya McCullum

Space in 30 Seconds, Clive Clifford

Janice VanCleave’s Wild, Wacky, and Weird Astronomy Experiments, Janice Pratt VanCleave

New Frontiers in Astronomy, Elizabeth Schmermund

Mars Probe: Robots Explore the Red Planet, Kelly Spence

Oceans, Angela Royston

Mega Shark: Megalodon

Opiods: Heroin, Oxycontin, and Painkillers, John Perritano

Discovering Nanotechnology, Lisa J. Amstuta

Drones: Remote-Controlled Warfare, Judy Silverstein Gray

A Visual History of Ships and Navigation, Nicholas Faulkner

Abracadabra! Fun Magic Tricks for Kids, Kristen Kelly

Magic Tricks from the Tree House: a Fun Companion to Magic Tree House #50: Hurry Up, Houdini! Mary Pope Osborne

 JUNION FICTION

Posted, John David Anderson

Serafina and the Splintered Heart, Robert Beatty

Worlds Collide, Chris Colfer

Refugee, Alan Gratz

Cinderella, Ellie O’Ryan

Ghost of a Chance, Susan Maupin Schmid

Darkness of Dragons, Tui Sutherland

Camille’s mermaid Tale, Valerie Tripp

YOUNG ADULT FICTION

What To Say Next, Julie Buxbaum

Lottery Boy, Michael Byrne

Most Likely to Succeed, Jennifer Echols

Since You’ve Been Gone, Morgan Matson

Day 21, Kass Morgan

The 100, Kass Morgan

Homecoming, Kass Morgan

We Are All Made of Molecules, Susin Nielsen-Fernlund

Now I Rise, Kiersten White

And I Darken, Kiersten White

Downloadable Audio Books and Ebooks

Patrons of the Epsom Public Library may access and download audio books and ebooks from the New Hampshire State Library at nh.lib.overdrive.com. Prior to checking out, the patron must call the Epsom Library for its code to be used with their library card number. This is a free service.

Reviewers Wanted

Reviewers

Have you read a book or seen a movie that has left a definite impression on you? The library is looking for patrons who would be willing to write a review for our newsletters. If you are interested or have questions, please check with Nancy or Maggie. Patrons now have the opportunity to receive notices, newsletters, and other information from the library via e-mail. The staff will be asking patrons if they would be agreeable to provide their e-mail address.

Kindles at the Library

The Library has six Kindles which may be loaned to patrons. They may be loaned for three weeks. Patrons must be 18 years of age or older and sign an agreement before borrowing an eReader.

Reserve and Renew From the Library’s Website

 You can reserve and renew books from home.  Just go to the library’s website, www.epsomlibrary.com Click on the Online Resources. Under Card Catalog click to search.  Log on in the upper right hand corner of the catalog, USERNAME is your last name, PIN is your library card number.

eSEQUELS.COM

Today’s best-seller lists are dominated by series fiction.  Almost every popular author has created a series character, each with a loyal following.  A series may be only two or three books or twenty books, as long as they are the same character.

eSequels.com is the premier online guide to series fiction.  It is one of the most helpful and widely-used databases for readers.  You can search it by author, title, character, location, subject, and keyword.  It includes only adult series novels.  If your favorite author writes a series of books with continuing characters, you will find them at this site.

To utilize the website, simply go to www.epsomlibrary.com and click on the Esequels link.  When asked for a password, enter 03234 plus your library card number.  The final number, however, must be nine (9) digits, so if your card number is less than four digits, place as many zeroes as needed before your library number.  For example, if your library number were 134, the final number you would enter is 032340134.

Weeding Out!

To make room on our shelves for new books, we occasionally “weed out: books that have not seen much usage.  Generally, the books are added to our semi-annual sales.  We are trying something new – displaying the book on a cart down the hall near the rest rooms.  Take a look and “help yourself.”  Money donations would be accepted towards the purchase of new books

epsomhistory.com

Check out the new look for the Epsom Historical Association website

“Revenge” by Mort Glazer

READERS’ CORNER

           I first met Jacob in the late 1940’s when he was visiting his Aunt Sadie in Brookline, MA.  My family lived next door to Sadie, and our homes were set on the highest point of Brookline with a view towards Boston, Cambridge, and beyond.  Sadie was a warm and lovely lady, who had the terribly tragic misfortune to lose both her sons and their wives, along with 488 others, in Boston’s Cocoanut Grove fire, on November 28, 1942.  With the exception of paying the usual respects, the neighborhood left her and her remaining two children to their private grief.

            I began to notice that at least two weekends a month, an extended family would visit, one of whom was Jacob, along with who I assumed were his grandparents.  He would enter his aunt’s home, and usually ten minutes later, he would emerge with a glove and tennis ball and start playing stoop ball with himself against the stairs.  Although he was short for his age, and stocky from the waist down, with a rather large rear end, his hands were very quick, and very few balls got by him.  Within ten minutes, his grandfather would come outside and shoo him away, complaining that he was driving everyone in the house crazy.  So Jacob would go out in the middle of the street and toss the ball as high as he could and then run under it as if he were an outfielder.  I use the word “run” loosely, as he was extremely slow, but he was able to make these circus catches nevertheless.

            One Sunday, I decided to introduce myself to him and came out with my glove and asked if he would like to play catch.  So we threw the ball back and forth or played grounders.  He caught everything within his limited range, but if any ball did get past him or, God forbid, he made an error, he would get red in the face, angry with himself, and then we would resume play, as if to him it were life and death.  The balls he would throw to me became harder and eventually out of my range entirely, although I was reasonably fast and had good hand-eye coordination.  His face was always twitching, either his eyebrows going up and down or eyes blinking.  The more irate he became, the more he twitched, and occasionally he made squeaky noises.

            This went on for over a couple of months on the Sundays he would visit, and on one hot August day we finally sat down under a shaded tree and had our first conversation. He was 13-years-old at the time, I guess, and I was going on 17.  I asked him why he always came with his grandparents, and he said his grandparents were dead.  “Those are my parents.  I was a change-of-life child.  It was a mistake.”

            I asked why he twitched, which set off a series of tics even worse, and he said he remembered they started when he was around five after he stepped on a broken milk bottle while walking barefoot in the woods.  He was rushed to the hospital and screamed at the doctor not to cut his off his leg. He threw up, and the doctor was “pissed,” he said.  He’d had the tics ever since, and the kids at school were always making fun of him.

            They had plenty of ammunition.  I was short, chubby, and a Jew.  I think we were the only Jews in Charlestown, and my father owned a junkyard there, and no one was going to make him move because he was a Jew.  Some of these kids were in my class, and I was smarter than all of them put together, and I used to piss them off when I raised my hand to answer a question they were too stupid to know.  So they began to wait for me after school.  But I knew every exit, which they couldn’t cover since there were only eight of them usually, and they preferred to stick together as a group. You won’t find many bullies that’ll attack without friends around.  So I would escape through one of the exits; however, they would have lookouts, and although I was able to get home safely most of the time (knowing every backyard between my home and school) they would sometimes catch me and surround me in a circle.  They would shout, “Jakey, the fat Jewboy.  What’s with the crazy face, you filthy Jew?” Stuff like that. My only defense was to act like I was crazy and charge at one of them, and he would run away, cause I could never catch anyone.  Then they would make a circle again, and the same thing would be repeated, until they got tired.

            I told my father about it, and he says to me, “Don’t be a coward.  Fight them” I said there were too many.  So, what does my father do? He goes out and buys me boxing gloves.  What, am I going to take my boxing gloves to school?  I got three older sisters, and no brother, so I’m alone.  No brother – no nothing. This went on from the third through the sixth grade, and I could never get my hands on one of them. 

            Over the course of many Sundays, he told me more stories about this guy named George Harrison, an older kid that would wait in doorways for him to walk by.  This guy was tall and lean with a face like a wolf.  I’d be walking along,  then suddenly from behind I would feel someone’s fingers wrapped around my throat, and he would say, “It’s time to die, Jew!” or he would grab my arm and twist it behind my back.  He had this sick laugh.  I was never so scared in all my life. I screamed that my big brother would kill him, and he would punch me hard and run. Then after about a year it suddenly stopped, and I never saw him again.

            Many years later, we met for lunch, and he told me he had decided to confront Harrison.  Jacob was then in his early 20’s and running his father’s junkyard, never having finished college or heading off to a profession. He said that one day he started thinking about Harrison and was determined to have it out with him once and for all.  He knew where he lived, but first he went out and bought a knife and hid it in his pocket.  He knocked on Harrison’s door, not knowing if he still lived there, and a woman answered.  When he asked if George Harrison lived there, she laughed and said, “He’s safely away.  He’s in Walpole State Prison, thank goodness, serving a life sentence for murder and armed robber.  Jeez, I wanted to stick a knife in him so bad.  I guess I was lucky he wasn’t there, but, you know? The shame, humiliation, and hate are still there, eating me up.

            Whenever we met for lunch throughout the 50’s and even into the 60’s, his childhood was still very close to the surface.  He wasn’t the fat, undersized kid anymore; he was muscular from physical labor, with grime embedded in his fingers.  He had been in the army reserves as an infantryman in 1962 and didn’t look like a guy one would want to take on.  In 1964 he married a girl named Miriam, and I was an usher at his wedding.  She was a school teacher and very much in love with him.  They had a son in April of 1967, and I went to his son’s briss, and that was the last time I ever saw Jacob.

            Some time in May of 1967, when war between Israel and the Arab nations seemed inevitable, Jacob and some of his friends left to go to Israel to fight, despite Miriam’s stricken hysteria and his heartbroken parents.  When the Six Day War started on June 5th, one of his friends took a picture of him heading to the front in a truck with other soldiers, all in uniform and shouldering or carrying weapons.  Standing next to Jacob was an older tall, blond, broad-chested soldier with his arm around Jacob, just like the big brother he’d always wanted. Jacob was beaming.

            Jacob died from a gunshot in that war, and I sometimes wonder if, before he died, he saw  in the enemy the faces of those kids who had picked on him, and was charging them . . . trying to catch them . . .finally, at long last exorcising the shame.

 

READERS CORNER

(We invite patrons to write a book or movie review or an essay relating to some literature.    Our guest writer this month is Mort Glazer.)

                When I was 14 years old, I got fixed up with Sheila Mendlebaum from Revere.  It was my first date, and a blind one at that.  The story about Sheila was that she was “built.”  I had a pretty good idea what that meant, having three older sisters, but I had never experienced meeting such a girl strictly on my own.  We spoke on the phone and arranged a meeting at her home on Shirley Avenue, near Bell Circle and the Wonderland Dog Track for the following Friday. 

            It took me about an hour and a half to get to her home by public transportation from Somerville.  Like most of the blue collar cities around the eastern or northern outskirts of Boston, Shirley Avenue was lined on both sides with two-family wooden shingled homes knitted close together.

            It was a warm spring evening, and there was a noticeable odor of salty, fetid air from the beach nearby.  I rang the bell, and a large, hirsute man opened the door and glared at me.  No “hello,” or anything that suggested he was pleased to see me.  He just simply turned, leaving the door open, and I followed him into the parlor.  He said, “Sit.”  There was a large sofa and two over-stuffed chairs. 

I sat in one of them.  A moment later, Sheila and father entered the room.

            I got up and said, “Hello,” my eyes immediately zeroing in on the “built” part of her anatomy.  The rumors were true.  However, she was also quite built in every other respect.  (I could hear my fix-up buddies laughing their heads off.)

            Mr. Mendlebaum said, “I will be leaving for a while, but I’ll be back soon, (stressing the words “back” and “soon.”  Actually, every word was fraught with threat accompanied by his menacing glare.

            Sheila and I were alone.  She sat on the couch facing me, and we chatted aimlessly, but I was thinking about how long I would have to stay there before it was sufficiently polite to get up and get out.  Sheila said to me, “Why don’t you come over and sit next to me on the couch?”  I answered, “Okay, but I can’t stay very long, just for a few minutes.”  Her huge arm was beckoning me, and I dragged my feet over and sat as far away as possible from her.  I could sense her sliding over in my direction, as the couch began to tip slightly. 

            The next thing I remember is being crushed and having a life-and-death wrestling match.  She had me pinned, but I found a miraculous burst of strength and threw her off, and raced out of the room.  I could hear her screaming, “I hate myself! I hate myself!”

            All the way home on the dreary busses, I felt guilt-stricken, and when

I got there, I spilled the whole story to my sister, especially the “I hate myself” part and how bad I felt for her.  My sister suggested that I write her a nice letter of apology.

 

 

            At that time I was a voracious reader of all the Mickey Spillane books, featuring Mike Hammer, Private Eye.  The lesson drilled into me by my teachers was always to look up any word in the dictionary that I didn’t understand.  I remembered Hammer’s referring to some woman as “voluptuous” and had looked it up.  So, in my letter to Sheila, I said that although the evening had ended badly, I still thought that she was “voluptuous looking”, which word I assumed she would know or learn and then conclude that, in my opinion, she was alluring in a rotund sort of way.  I guess today the word “Reubenesque” would be more appropriate.

            Two weeks go by, and I arrive home from school.  No sooner am I in the front door than I am met by my father, who, at 4 feet 11 inches, can seem like ten feet when he’s mad.  “Come with me,” he said.  There in the parlor, with the white sheets removed from the couches and chairs, were Mr. Mendlebaum and his daughter, Sheila, along with my mother, looking especially ticked off. 

            Mr. Mendlebaum had my letter in his fist.  “Did you write this letter to my daughter?” (He had his usual ready-to-kill expression on his face.)  I nodded.  “How dare you call my daughter that word.”  “What,

word?” I asked.  “Voluptuous,” he shouted.  I argued that I was being complimentary to her!  At that point, my mother shoved the Merriam-Webster dictionary into my hands, with the page turned to where the definition of voluptuous was found, and I was ordered to read it aloud in its entirety, including all the secondary meanings.  I guess from her

father’s interpretation, I was calling her a tart.  (Hey, I thought, if the shoe fits. . .)

            “Now,” said red-faced Mr. Mendlebaum, “I want you to apologize to my daughter and promise that you will never use that word again in a letter.”  By this time, my mother and father had the same expression of contempt on their faces as Mr. Mendlebaum.  (Sheila, by the way, was grinning broadly.)  “Okay, okay,” I promised.

            Everyone got up, and the men shook hands, (leaving my mother’s sponge cake untouched, not helping her mood any.)  As the Mendlebaums were leaving, Sheila turned to me and mouthed the words:  “Call me.”