Batt, James R. (ed.) / Wisconsin Academy review
Volume 20, Number 4 (Fall 1974)
Cassidy, Frederic G.
Stalking American regionalisms, pp. 6-8
Songs my mother taught me, p. 8
editors because they cover the whole country and give us a key to r e l at i v e frequencies-which terms are common, which less well known, which perhaps rare. We plan to publish them as a "Data Summary," to appear if possible in 1974, which, though printed first, will ultimately form the last volume of the Dictionary. The reader who wants fuller detail than can be found in the conventional treatment of any word will be re- ferred to the Data Summary which will include the age and education- al bracket of the people who gave each response and the section of the country where each respondent lived. Also available will be in- formation on the race, sex, and occupation of the respondents, and other "social" factors. The Data Summary is being sorted and tabulated and will be printed by computer processes. Generous support for this pro- ject during the first five years came from the U.S. Office of Education; thereafter the National Endowment for the Humanities provided fund- ing. The University of Wisconsin- Madison, as "cooperating institu- tion," has also shared in this sup- port. When, in a few more years, DARE is completed, the plan of the Dialect Society, made so many years ago, will come to fruition, and a neglected dimension of American English will be at last accessible to those interested. Songjs My Mother Taugjht Me By Bea Cameron Bea Cameron is a Madison poet whose published works include Clarifications, Snow-Wreath, and In The Blackened Rose. I recall the time your mother got for her birthday a doll, dressed in the prettiest clothes, which a friend of her mother had taken weeks to make, with finished seams, delicate embroideries, bonnet and sash, collar all trimmed with lace, and the first thing your mother did was to take the clothes off the doll, and put them on the cat, who leaped to the windowsill, dived, and was never heard from again. I remember also how a friend of your father's family arrived as a guest, after a day's riding, and before he had even dismounted somebody asked him "When are you going to go home?" "Right now!" he answered, and gave the spurs to his horse, and that was the last they ever saw of him. That was how I learned to ask always "How long can you stay!" "But what of the doll?" "Oh, the doll by itself was nothing special . . . " Forever, sphered in your recollected voice, Great-grandmother leans, horrified, out of the window, wondering what on earth she will tell Mrs. Himady, while Grandmother cries in fright and because an action in the logic of play has had such consequences, and the friends stand with arms and mouth agape, staring at the retreating dustcloud, hearing the hoofbeats fall over the edge of dismay, and Uncle Al, who saved his money for fireworks and on the dawn of the Fourth sneaked out to light just one, and the whole bag caught fire, remains transfixed in the rockets' day-bleached glare, the sputter of snakes, backfiring roman candles, while the family windows, blooming with sleep and astonishment behold him, not magnifico, but fool. What is it clamps on laughter like felted hammers, a glove from behind, Mother? What is it neither pity nor time repairs? 8
Copyright 1974 by the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters.| For information on re-use, see http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/Copyright