Not Love at First Sight: Stories from New England
About the stories on this CD
New England is a state of mind rather than a precise geography. Willem Lange has lived in New England for over fifty years, working everywhere from the lumber woods in the Adirondacks and the coastal islands of Maine to the ivied halls of Dartmouth College. All through his travels he has picked up stories — hundreds of them — about this unique place and the complicated, reticent, dry-humoured people we call Yankees.
The Not Love at First Sight CD is a collection of nine of these tales read aloud by the author, a master storyteller. As you listen to Willem Lange read these stories, you will understand the importance of the spoken word in the culture of northern New England, and experience the richness of language and the art of story telling at its best.
Hear Will read from The White-Footed Mouse:
Hear Will read these stories on the CD:
- Not Love At First Sight
- The Old Canoe
- Baddy and the Fawn
- The Carpenter And The Honeybee
- Favor Johnson's Christmas
- The White-Footed Mouse
- The Child Of Fear
- The Old Man's Legacy
- Well Grounded In Mechanics
The Child Of Fear
I could always tell when Bernie was getting ready to ask a question.
He sat in the corner, in the back seat of the row by the windows, in a desk too small for his long, slender frame. In my memory I see him always wearing blue jeans and a Lee Rider denim jacket. Behind him, out the window, the parking lot and half a dozen yellow school buses. Beyond that, the mountains rising at the edge of the valley floor.
Normally he sprawled back in his seat with his legs stuck into the aisle, squinting at me with an incredulous expression. But when he was getting ready to ask one of his questions, he leaned forward, with his knees together and bouncing up and down, elbows on the desk in front of him, and fists in front of his mouth. Then, at last, the dreaded blue denim sleeve waving in the air.
"Mr. Lange, didn't you tell us yesterday that a pronoun subject of a clause is always in the subjective case, even if the clause is the object of another clause?"
"Uh...yes, I think I did."
"And wasn't Alfred Lord Tennyson a famous poet? Like, probably the most famous poet in England?"
"Yes, he was poet laureate of England."
"Uh-huh. Then how come in this poem he wrote he says, '...and see the great Achilles, whom we knew'? Isn't 'whom' the objective case?"
And off we'd go, twisting through thickets of misunderstanding, scribbling sample sentences on the chalkboard. Returning to definitions to get our bearings, then starting out again, while the rest of the class rolled their eyes at each other. And when I finally got all the way through it, I'd turn to find him looking out the window at the mountains. For as soon as he'd detected that I was once more going to wiggle out of an apparent contradiction, he'd lost interest.
Or this one: "Mr. Lange, didn't you tell us that when Iago says he wishes Cassio's fingers were 'clyster pipes,' he means he wishes they were enema pipes?"
"What's an enema?"
That sort of question usually brightened up the rest of the class. As they watched with fascination to see how I'd get out of this one -- what euphemisms I could possibly invent to describe the operation, I would conceive the almost overwhelming urge to give Bernie a personal demonstration.
He wasn't being a smart aleck, either. I was too much bigger than he was, and pretty up-tight in those days, to boot. No, he wasn't just having fun. It was anger. You could feel the angry energy he was giving off, like static electricity. For some reason, I attracted a lot of it.
And yet after class there he was, at the fringe of maybe four or five kids who stayed to talk or ask questions. Smiling uncertainly, wanting to be included, taking his cues from the others, yearning for something -- like the puppy who chews up your slippers.
You'll have to purchase the CD to listen to Willem Lange tell the rest of this story, and hear firsthand how Bernie fared after high school...