Don’t you have a cherished dictionary?

This one stays near my computer. I use it often–probably averaging 3 times a week–sometimes 3 times or more in a day.

My love of a dictionary goes way back.

I was delighted when a dictionary was on the school supply list in fourth grade. I kept it in my desk, you know the tan one with immovable writing surface attached to the right arm and a cubbyhole for books with opening on the left under the seat that Mrs. Tant was always checking for neatness? Mrs. Tant’s rants were awesome and notorious. Some of my classmates’ parents had her in elementary, too. But I digress.

I read that dictionary. Yes, and chose a favorite page. I still remember reading page 548 about photochromography and other “photo” words. They rolled off the tongue in such an impressive way.

About 40 years later I was with my friend Esther at an antique/collectibles store and found that dictionary. It was like finding a long-lost friend. I handed it to her and said, check page 548 and see if photochromograpy is at the top. She already knew I was weird. I was confirming it. I bought it and it’s at the lakehouse with the Scrabble game or I would take a picture of it with my Iphone and show it to you right now. As they say, “take my word for it.” (pun intended)

But the dictionary pictured above is the one I’ve consulted continuously for over 40 years. I bought it at the off-campus college bookstore with the proceeds from selling my freshman year’s textbooks. It was about $50. It was an investment (and an emotional one) in breaking away from my parents.

How so? My parents said they would pay for one year of secretarial

school, so I chose to take one year (40 hours) of business classes at Southwestern Oklahoma State College to earn their “secretarial certificate.” In the spring semester, I knew I really wanted to continue to a degree, but was stuck in between my dream and my parent’s plan for me. It was my brother Larry who told me “You can find a way, if that’s what you want.”
That was the moment I saw the rest of my life was really up to me. Mama and Daddy had been fabulous parents and did without to provide the things we needed, but my dream was my dream and I was the only one who could make it happen.
When I spent $50 for a dictionary, it was the down payment and the first step toward fulfilling my dream of a college degree. So many things that have happened in my life would not have happened as they did if I had not bought that dictionary.

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