This last week something odd has appeared around the cabin, on the bookshelves, on the door and walls, on the butter dish and elsewhere. Small, thin strips of purple paper with tiny writing on them have sprouted like fungus.
I like to think I know what’s going on in my home, but as the parent of a teenager, I’m resigned to being out of the loop most of the time. Aly keeps us guessing as she quietly pursues her benign, but often secret agendas.
Examining these strips closely, I’ve been able to make out the writing. This isn’t easy. In the low light of the cabin, I find reading glasses necessary much of the time. I definitely need them for these scraps, hand printed in what I estimate to be six-point font or less, in pencil, on a medium to dark purple.
The words are in German. Mystery solved.
A large part of Aly’s self-directed education involves languages. She has a collection of Rosetta Stone courses, and has completed three sections in German. She’s now reviewing, preparing for the SAT II test on the language, and apparently the labeling is part of it.
With a name like Zeiger–our mixed ethnic make up notwithstanding—you may assume that German is part of our heritage. My father’s ancestors apparently spoke German fairly often up until World War I, when American animosity toward all things Teutonic led the family to drop the language abruptly. My grandfather learned a little, and passed it along, but his sense of humor also led to a lot of “ersatz German” being spoken in the family, like the title of this post.
When Aly began learning German, Michelle and I intended to join her, and I’m sorry to say we haven’t done that yet. We should. My brother’s wife is a native German, so we actually could use it in the family. Mostly it’s an issue of taking the time on the computer, and finding a place where we can talk to the software (required by the Rosetta Stone method) without interruption.
I should probably make a start, at least by reading the mysterious little labels, and learning those words and phrases.
I’d better go get my reading glasses.