A Woman of Fewer Words


by cheri

I used to be a fast-talker.

Nursery rhymes and pithy poems tumbled out of my mouth, one after another in a dizzying pace, like a carousel moving too quickly in its circular motion.

As the years themselves tumbled by, my speech pattern remained constant: belt out that lesson, that lecture, that funny anecdote before the bell rang in a short 55 minutes.

Time rumbled by. I escaped my 55-minute cage and entered the world of the private educational business.

Running this very busy business, which consisted mainly of East Indian and Chinese clients, exacerbated my motor-mouth.  The East Indians, the Middle-Easterners, and especially the Chinese spoke English faster than I in their frenzied cadence.

Picking up a voice mail from a South Indian and actually understanding it the first time around took the skills of an oral surgeon. Trying to extract meaning from such syllabic hash was not going to stymie me. No way, Jose. And so I continued to meet the challenge, replaying the voice mail until I broke the code. Aha! The caller’s child needed work in speech. Did we have a public speaking class available on Thursdays?

Then I retired. At the Rancho, I felt like a newly-minted Carmelite nun.

And then a slow-creeping disease, a little like leaf-rot, began to manifest itself in my home.

It looked like this:

(Cheri)  I spent the day trying to write one paragraph on my thesis but the topic is so troubling, good God, why did I pick this particular book to dissect? Ron, do you remember when we used to dissect frogs in __________________________________

(Ron) Mr. Evan’s class?

(Cheri) Yes. I remember sitting next to _________________________________________

(Ron) Eric Belden?

(Cheri) Yes. He was the best student. In fact, I think he might have been_____________

(Ron) Number One in our Class?

(Cheri) God Dammit. Will you stop finishing my sentences?

That disease.

The other night, while chopping celery for my chicken soup, I observed (aloud) that I was becoming a quieter person.

He had little to say about my self-analysis.

(Cheri) I suppose you will believe it when you hear it.


About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
This entry was posted in Life, My childhood, People and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to A Woman of Fewer Words

  1. AK: (Just kidding. The world would be poorer with out your input.)

  2. CINDY USEDOM says:










    lolololololololololhilarious and true!

    Cindy Block Usedom Graphic Design and Art Direction

    Mobile: 510-501-4140 Office: 925-426-3760 Portfolio: cpartner.wixsite.com/cindyblockusedom


  3. shoreacres says:

    Something’s been nagging at me about this post, and I finally figured it out. Your title is, “A Woman of Fewer Words,” not, “A Woman of Few Words.” That made me laugh.

    • Cheri says:

      Well, I have never been a toddler, child, teen, adult, or senior citizen with “few” words. Words have always been my social fast pass to my Disneyland life at times. I am writing and speaking fewer words these days, partly because were I to really express what I am thinking about current culture, education, civility, and all around societal norms, I may surprise my friends.

      • shoreacres says:

        But that doesn’t surprise me at all. And I certainly enjoy the words you do choose to share.

      • Christopher says:

        “……I am writing and speaking fewer words these days………about current culture, education, civility, and all around societal norms……..”

        Whyever not?

        Assuming you’ve written about these issues in the past when you were younger, and so had less knowledge and wisdom, isn’t now the perfect time for you to re-visit them and to write about them again in the light of the wisdom, discernment and knowledge you’ve acquired since?

        • Cheri says:

          Thanks for your encouragement Christopher. Throughout the years you have, with your comments, forced me to engage in a discussion that I may not have wanted to have but that I needed–to understand why I held such beliefs.
          I will consider writing about such topics again.

  4. wkkortas says:

    My, my–how very wry.

  5. ShimonZ says:

    I had a teacher, many years ago… who used to say that each person was allotted just so many words in this world. And that when he or she used them up… they would just remain silent. Having lasted quite a few years, I saw some dear friends turn silent.

    • Cheri says:

      This idea appeals to my childlike self…that we are somehow allotted a certain number of words. Very interesting. Sounds like a Sholem Aleichem story.

  6. Cyberquill says:

    “A modest silence is a woman’s crown.” — Sophocles

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