Saturdays were about rituals when I was four or five years old. First, the card table would be set up so we could play games like Crazy 8s or Checkers. After that, a record would be put on the turntable, usually a jazz version of a popular song. The conversation would go like this:
My Dad, Smiling: "Do you know this song?"
Me, Not looking up: "Norwegian Wood."
My Dad, Still smiling, "What is the name of the band that created this song?"
Me, Still not looking up: "The Beatles"
My Dad, Challenging: "Ah, but who is the COMPOSER of this song?"
Me, Staring into space, really concentrating: "John Lennon."
The handshake I would receive and his smiling, bright blue eyes would mean I had answered correctly, which was a big deal in our house. Knowing a composer meant you were paying attention to the important stuff, not just tapping your feet in time to the music.
That game was the beginning of a life long determination to know things. Many things. As many things as I could cram in my head.
I am that person: the one who sits in the theatre at the end of a film to read all of the credits, much to the frustration of those around me. They just want to leave, but I am in the way, reading the details; ALL of the details.
I taught myself to decipher Roman Numerals by watching old films on T.V. I would make note of the letters and then take my time later to figure them out. I was beyond thrilled when I came to the realization that MCM meant 1900 and the letters afterwards determined the last two digits. (Yes, I was one of those kids, staring into space all the time; now you know what I was thinking about!)
Information, to me, was like a series of heavily laden banquet tables and I was alone in the room and ravenous. Books were, (and still are!), stacked around me.
One of the artist I painted with years ago sighed; with an exhausted voice he said, "You have an anecdote for EVERYTHING!", after I happily announced that luscious Quinacridone paint had been created by the company my Dad had worked for.
I admit, I can be tiresome with the facts. On the one hand, does anyone really want to know that Ruth Wakefield was in a rush?! She was making cookies for her Toll House Restaurant and rather than melting chocolate, she added tiny broken pieces hoping they would melt while baking. The result, adored universally, is the Toll House (Chocolate Chip!!!) Cookie.
Perhaps nobody needs to know these things. However, if someone dusts off an old game of Trivial Pursuit from the back of the cupboard, you want me on YOUR team!!!
Thank you for spending this time with me,