American History, Practical Math

The eldest child of Polish immigrants, she spoke only Polish until

first grade, where everybody else spoke English. The experience made

her relationship with the language she would use all her life a

permanently uneasy one.

At Penney’s for my back-to-school attire, she had to check the crouch

of my new bluejeans because it embarrassed her to say crotch, and she

hoped they meant the same thing. Two of everything: underwear, plaid

shirts, bluejeans with crouch. Embarrassing, to be sure, but I learned

to get way over it.

Crotch, crutch, crouch. Whatever. They always fit. She made sure they did.

Talk story

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