top of page

My Mother's Vocabulary

After reading the novel, “Teacups and Lies,” a woman asked me where I got all those words.

I’m still unsure what she meant exactly, whether she was referring to the book's length or if she had specific words in mind. Thinking she meant choice of words, I told her about a source I use when I am stumped for a word with the exact shade of meaning I want.

Later I realized that I had given my reader an incomplete answer. Here’s the truth: My vocabulary was actually a gift from my mother.

In her younger days, Mom had been a journalism major. She studied Latin, was well-read and had a more expansive vocabulary than almost anyone else I knew. You couldn’t tell it from her day-to-day language, but when she was angry with me – and I must have been a terrible child because she was angry a lot – she often launched into a lecture about my bad behavior. At those times, she waxed eloquent, dipping into her deep reservoir of expressive verbiage that she never used in everyday conversation. And I must say, her pronunciation at those times was exquisite. But I could always tell exactly what those words meant from the context and her body language. It was an education that few children receive. I may have learned more English vocabulary from my mother’s ire than from any other source.

My mother has been in heaven for over a quarter of a century, free from the aggravation of unruly children. So perhaps she is speaking in a universal language more beautiful than anything we have here on earth. I’ll bet she speaks it well.

You have my genuine thanks, Mom. Sorry I was such a brat.

Note: Photo licensed for use by

20 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page