Lately a few happenings have particularly reminded me of my grandfather, Roger Shattuck. Roger was and still is one of the most important people in my life, though he passed away five years ago. He was such a singular and brilliant man I feel unable to briefly explain him here and now. So, I have decided not to try. Also, most of you, my dedicated and limited audience, knew him quiet well.
I have recently picked up the habit of calling Joseph by his first and middle name when the emphasis is needed, as in “Joseph Roger, do not pee there!” I also heard a fun commentary on NPR about a school in Milton that is incorporating an extensive study of proverbs into it’s upper elementary curriculum. As scary as it is to use the word curriculum with any relation to Roger (he had very definite and strict ideas about what did and did not qualify as a curriculum) I do remember him often speaking of the wisdom and importance of proverbs. Not only does the idea of making use of them in a school setting appeal to me, I also realized that I can use them more at home! Currently I am often quoting to J, “think before you act” and we have had a bit of discussion about the meaning of this wisdom. My goal is to say and follow-as best I can-these proverbs so much so that they become part of J’s subconscious .
On the literary front, I found a copy of Wynken, Blynken, and Nod at the used book store, gave it to Joseph, and love enjoying this favorite poem of Roger’s together.
Best of all, Joseph and I are now reading Alice In Wonderland together!! If I recall correctly, Roger cited this book as his best loved. That means a lot to me. This book had occurred to me as a possibility for Joseph when I was Christmas shopping (at all three of my local bookstores—one new and two used) but I then decided it might be a bit too advanced. Plus, ashamedly, I had never actually read the whole thing so didn’t really know what it was like. Then, one day last week, J was very quite upstairs for a long time and then came down with a copy of said book in his hand begging for me to read it to him! It is also a bit embarrassing that I didn’t remember I already had a copy of the book, though in my defense it is a small and simple Dover edition with only the original drawings that was among boxes of such Dover books I took home when I worked at The Vermont Book Shop. Anyways, the point is, Joseph somehow found this among all the books on the “grown-up” book shelves and was fascinated by the fanciful illustrations. Together we are now loving our adventure down the rabbit hole!
Often other, small things bring him to mind. Stacking wood. Garlic soup. J running around in his long underwear all day today after we went skating. Making bread. I am so grateful for his example and wisdom and love sharing it with Joseph. Of course, many things I do are not so close to Roger’s memory, blogging and imperfect writing being high on that list. But, I do my best, in my own way.