Linda Beck: What is a look-see?
I was watching a British movie one night when one man asked the other fellow: “May I have a look-see?” That term sounded strange to me at the time and “look-see” decided to reside in my brain as a possible story idea.
I thought about how in American English I might have said, “May I see that?” But I wasn’t exactly clear on what “look-see” might mean.
A few days later, I happened to come across a replica of the Dick and Jane series which were used to teach young children how to read. My friend, Debbie, had given me a reproduction of the book when we saw it in a store. I read back over it just for fun; it went like this “Look, see Dick run. Look, see Jane play.”
When my oldest daughter started school, I discovered the school system had discontinued use of those books as they are deemed too repetitive. Personally, I don’t think children learn to read as well without some repetition.
I know I learned to spell a lot of words by using repetition. For example: at, bat, cat, fat, mat, pat, rat, sat, tat, vat and other words like these. I have always loved to read, and spelling was one of my favorite subjects. I used to dream of learning to spell all the words in the dictionary and their meanings. I thought I was pretty good at spelling until I started coaching my oldest daughter with the words used in the National Spelling Bee. I had never heard of — and couldn’t even pronounce —some of those words.
I always loved reading to children. I would change my voice and make noises as if we were alive in the stories. As my girls got older, I had less time to read. I can remember times when I wanted to escape in a good novel, but our lives were so busy that other things were more important. Cleaning house, yard work, and cooking required time; reading fiction seemed less important.
After their father died and the girls moved out on their own, I devoted myself to reading the Bible through each of the following seven years. Then I began to read mostly true-life Christian stories and later Christian novels. I loved to read Janet Oake’s novels, especially after some were also made into TV movies.
Several of my friends are avid readers and share their books with me. Family and friends take books to and from the library and the librarians pull the books and hold them at the front desk to be picked up. When I had my van, they were so kind and considerate to bring the books outside to me. There were no parking spaces where I could put the ramp down without double parking.
In elementary school, I loved to read the Nancy Drew mysteries. Our small school library had limited numbers of certain books so it seemed as if we had to wait a long time for the new books to be available. Recently, I became interested in some mysteries and discovered the ones written by Sue Grafton. Those titles all begin with a letter of the alphabet and a definition. She has used all the letters of the alphabet as in “A is for Alibi.” At the time of this writing, I have read the books from A through M.
The purpose of this story began changing as I came across more and more words which I seldom use. For example, Grafton refers to a “lookie-loo,” a “set-to,” and some other interesting examples such as “willy-nilly,” “hidey-holes,” “tap-tapping,” “look-it,” “tee-hee,” “walkie-talkie,” “sashay,” “honey-tunes,” and an example of children arguing as in “did too, did not, did too.” I began to view her novels as grown-up adult Nancy Drew adventures. Before I got so involved reading these novels in alphabetical order, I had decided that I would take a “look-see” in my Bible. I figured that would be the best example of a “lookie-loo.” Then I was reminded of the latest new word which is “selfie.” Now I will close this column and each of you can discover the meaning of that word.
Linda Beck lives in Salisbury.
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