Vocabulary, Penmanship, Grammar and "BUNK"

My father was born in 1924 , around the same time that the house I live in now was built. He is a veteran of WWII and served in the Navy. His birthday was yesterday and he turned 87 years old. During the time I have known him, I never, ever heard him say a foul word, a cuss word, or swear. The most offensive utterance I recall to pass across his lips was the word "BUNK". Now, that word could at times have some umphf behind it, and it probably meant a lot more than face value of the one sylable, but it has become endearing to all of us children. As adults, we can not claim the same truth to say that our lips are as pure!
Today is Sunday, and the weather has turned warmer (47ish) so, a great deal of melting is going on after the horrendous snow storms of January. One of the problems with that phenomenon, is the fact that most of the citizens in the Massachusetts area have ice dams on their roofs. We have not been spared.

Our living room was redone this fall, and now the ceiling has a tell tale sign of a leak. Water is like a phantom, and you can never tell where it is coming from. Last evening when we arrived home after a midnight snack at our favorite Chinese Restaurant we were greeted with splattered, stained water all over our marble top radiator. It was dripping from secret crevices about the architecturally framed window of the 20's. I can say with much emphasis that it was not a happy reunion! Luckily for us we have a walk in attic with space above that window to investigate the situation, and after some detective work and the removal of insulation, we were able to find the leaks and at least keep them at bay for the over night hours.

We awoke this morning to find no more dripping and so we got to work! We cleaned the attic ( it has been 12 years since that was done) and we got things in order for the roofer to come on Monday to correct the defects. I was down stairs checking on the window when I heard Steve rustling in the attic above me. I yelled to him and he said, "I found something" ! Oh man not more water pleeeeeze. He came down to the living room 10 minutes later and said, "look what I found". To my amazement his two hands were cupped to hold the bounty of treasure hidden in the rafters under all that insulation.
We carefully examined the yellow tin, EMPTY and the jewelry box, also EMPTY, and the receipts from 1965. Then we saw it. School work!

John Sherman

the words
OMEN written twelve times across the top two lines

on the opposite side was the handwriting of another student. It said,

Sept 7, 1923
This is a specimen of my best penmanship BUNK.

"BUNK" !!!!! Well now how fun was that? I would venture to say, that was "the word" back in the day in 1923, and in the year my dad was born in 1924! I never in a million years would have thought I would see that word written anywhere in my life's journey! But you never know now do you.

There is always a silver lining to every situation in life. I have found myself smiling many times in the past 50+ years, when I am interrupted by just such silver. They are unexpected treasures, and come with warm rays of brightness in an otherwise dreary situation. Hmmmm.......


I may just have to rethink my vocabulary, and begin using the word from time to time! You can steal it if you'd like!

ps. there was a little sadness in reading the school papers of that era. I saw how accomplished the children were who attended school in the 20's. They had perfectly beautiful penmanship and knew the concepts of grammar. We are beginning to lose so much with texting and computers ....who will find THOSE treasures 100 years from now?
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Patti J said...

What a fabulous treasure! You are blessed to be living in the home that you grew up in! So glad that your roof leaked...lol!!! Hugs!!!

Lisa said...

Such a neat treasure....and at such a neat time! Love it!

Andrea L - EnchantINK said...

Wow! What fun ... to discover such a find! Another "common - ness" that we share! (How funny that we keep discovering these things!) My father always used the work "bunkum"! And ... I think it was used with a similar meaning! Haven't heard him say that for years ... though! His conversation is fairly limited now. Hugs xxaxx

Sheldon Saints said...

Hi Donna,

I just returned to your blog. Enjoyed reading it, as always. You have a very nice writing style.

(Just a quick "catch". In your post script at the end of the story about the 1923 school papers and how nice penmanship and grammar were back then...you used the word "loose," I believe you mean "lose"). I am not being a smarty or critical... just thought you'd want to know. : )

I have a question for you. When I read your blog, I can often put myself into your story because I know your family well, and the Stoughton area. Your blog makes me think of my own childhood. And I find myself thinking about where I was, or what I was experiencing at times that you reference. (I am a little younger, but not much). Sometimes our stories converge...like when you mention Christmas, and it reminds me of our yearly trip to Stoughton for Christmas where we would see all of you kids and your parents. always exciting and fun! Anyway, when I think of my Stoughton cousins, I think of you, Debbie, Dave, Danny and Diane. I think of Brenda and Ken. I never felt like I really knew Uncle Tony's kids well (in fact, I am ashamed to admit that I cant recall their names) though I remember that Shawna was somewhat close with one of his daughters, and they keep in touch). Finally, I have memories of more infrequent interaction with my Dad's side of the family, the Santos and Pitta cousins. Mary Pitta being the one I knew the best.
So, here's the question, when you write about your childhood memories, holidays and such, did you have a lot of cousins on your mom's side that you visited or played with? Did your mom grow up in Stoughton? Where were her nieces and nephews living at the time. etc? Tell me, if you have the time an inclination, a little about the Beales (that is your mom's maiden name?) I am just curious.

Keep up the blog...I check it every few months...and enjoy the "view".
Please say Hello to Steve!


Butternutsage said...

thank you Sheldon for pointing out my spelling/context issue! (wink) I can use the help. Also thanks for the lovely narrative of your memories as well. Hugs~Donna