Salinger, Phoebe and Me

NPR reports that J.D. Salinger died at age 91.

I named my first cat Phoebe, after Holden Caulfield’s
sister.  I’ve met cats named Esme, too (love that
character), and two friends of mine met, wooed and
married due, in part, to a shared love of Catcher in the
Rye
: they named their first born Holden.

I have a fondness for the novel, probably because I only attempted to “teach” it once (in an upper division American Novel class): it went well, with a class of mostly 20-30somethings, most of whom hadn’t read it before (interestingly).  One woman in the class was in her 60s, and she related to the book more than all of us: she focused on Holden’s grief, and her perspective (she was the only one in the room who was alive during the late 40s/early 50s) added to our discussion in so many ways.

So Salinger the recluse is dead. Soon we’ll all be wondering/hoping that he has a few novels hidden away that will soon be shared?

[Here are some of his  The New Yorker stories.]

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Where No Annie Has Gone Before

So, I go on the first long weekend of my 20-year academic career, rush home on this MLK celebratory day to do a phone interview with someone on the other side of the world on my now-ancient dissertation topic on which I may be one of the few living experts (it was a fabulous interview/conversation, and more on that another day), start three loads of laundry, open the wine, and finally respond to Inktopia, one of my bloggy peeps, who gave me a homework assignment that I think she wanted me to complete on my long weekend, but alas, she had to wait.

So here goes the Seven Things I Haven’t Said on This Here Blog:

  1. I twirled the baton in elementary school, and the rifle in the “color guard” in the high school marching band. For those not in the know, that means very short skirts, and quite the sexy arms.
  2. Yet, I tried to get a position playing the drums for the marching band, but was turned down because, get this, the drums were just too heavy for a girl like me, despite the strong, sexy arms. Sigh. This was 1976, ladies: read it and weep.
  3. I’m the first member of my family to complete a B.A. (one uncle, a cousin, and my brother earned A.A’s). My niece and nephew are on track to be the 2nd, and 3rd. Needless to say it’s a bit difficult to explain what I DO for a living during family gatherings; yet, my family includes vet assistants, bookkeepers, machinists, hair dressers, cooks, firemen, computer techs and at least one mobster. 
  4. I named my first cat after Holden Caulfield’s little sister, Phoebe.
  5. I once lived with a man who looked and sounded like James Spader, circa Sex, Lies and Videotapes and Crash (the sex/car crash movie, not the L.A. one). I loved him. But he had issues.
  6. I do not like to cook. Yes, I teach a class in food fiction, and I love to eat (there are not many foods I will not eat), but cooking? No. Never liked it, never will. I have not so fond memories of my poor mother, herself a reluctant cook, fighting with whatever meal she forced herself to make that night, and demanding that I learn to make a pot roast.  Yes, I remember now. That’s one food I do not like: pot roast.
  7. I painted the walls of nearly every room in the house we bought over 5 years ago: one room is Tuscan yellow, another is a pale yellow; another is a light blue, and two are peach.  But I have never figured out what color to paint the hallway connecting all of those rooms: any advice?

If you’re reading this and haven’t been tagged by someone else in our nearly incestuous little bloggy world, consider yourself invited to play.