Home > Columns > The Write Life by Rebecca Forster > Giving Thanks in So Many Words

         For Mothers Day my youngest son —the crazy adventurer, Eric—gave me language lessons. This was one of the most inventive gifts I’ve ever received, and one I wished I could return. Thoughtful as it was, this gift spelled only failure. How did I know I would fail if I tried to learn another language? It is because I grew up in a two-language household.
 
            German is my mother’s first language. When she came to the United States as a teenager, she wasn’t allowed to go to school until she learned English. She mastered the language in a year. Since then she toggled easily between German and English without the trace of an accent. I am not so linguistically blessed. Frankly, I count myself lucky that I manage English.
 
            With Thanksgiving upon us, I’ve been thinking a lot about my family. My grandparents, aunts, uncles, and my dad are gone, my mom at 96 does not speak German any longer. Still my memories of holiday meals are bright. My mothers family would gather in the kitchen. As they worked, I heard their quick guttural conversation. It sounded both exotic as they gave direction, warned one another that a dish was hot, and laughed at who-knew-what. In the big family room, my dad made drinks and corny jokes befitting his Kansas roots. The English speakers did nothing more than wonder when the turkey would be done.
 
            At our holiday gatherings, language created two states and the border wall was the long bar that separated the kitchen from the family room: Germany on one side, U.S. of A. on the other. But when it came time to eat, the dining room became our country.
 
            We took our places around the huge table. My father carved the turkey. He offered fleisch and kartoffel to everyone.* Grandpa tried to teach the children German words. We forgot them a moment later. But he taught, we tried, dad carved, and all moved in and out of different languages as if both were understood by all. The ritual was repeated at each holiday gathering. In the end, there was no lack for conversation.
 
            I miss the two ‘countries’ in my mother’s house. I miss my brothers and sisters around a table. I miss all those who are gone. I am thankful to have had them all for so many holidays. I am grateful that the real language spoken at the table was that of love and respect, even if we disagreed.
 
            This brings me back to my son’s gift. I am learning to speak Albanian, and doing pretty well. Maybe age has given me the confidence and determination to learn another language. I might be spurred on because I hate to see anything go to waste (especially a gift card). But in my heart I know that I’m holding on to something precious. I want to go to Albania and visit the friends I have made in that country. I would like to speak to them in their kitchens in a language that is not my first. I hope it will warm their hearts in the way the memory of German chatter from my mother’s kitchen still warms mine.
 
            No matter what language you speak, I know that you will understand this. Have a happy, healthy, and blessed Thanksgiving. Use your words; make a memory.

 

*meat and potatoes-the only two German words my father knew

Author Bio
Author Bio
She marketed a world-class spa when it was still called a gym, did business in China before there were western toilettes at the Great Wall and mucked around with the sheep to find out exactly how her client’s fine wool clothing was manufactured. Then Rebecca wrote her first book and found her passion. Now, over twenty-five books later, she is a USA Today and Amazon bestselling author and writes full-time, penning thrillers that explore the emotional impact of the justice system. She earned her B.A. at Loyola, Chicago and her MBA at Loyola, Los Angeles. Rebecca has taught the Business of Creativity at University of California Long Beach Writers Certificate Program, UCLA and UC Irvine extension. Married to a Los Angeles Superior Court judge, she is the mother of two grown sons and spends her free time traveling, sewing, and playing tennis.
  • OH HORRORS! Storytelling that goes bump in the night
             For Mothers Day my youngest son —the crazy adventurer, Eric—gave me language lessons. This was one of the most inventive gifts I’ve ever received, and one I wished I could return. Thoughtful as it was, this gift spelled only failure. How did I know I would fail if I tried to […]
  • BACK TO SCHOOL: The Write Way to Learn your Craft

    I never thought I’d be a novelist, much less a USA Today and Amazon bestseller. I wish I could say that I was an overnight success, but it’s taken years to hone my skills because I am self-taught.

    @Rebecca_Forster

  • HERDING BUTTERFLIES: DEFINING A WRITER’S WORK
             For Mothers Day my youngest son —the crazy adventurer, Eric—gave me language lessons. This was one of the most inventive gifts I’ve ever received, and one I wished I could return. Thoughtful as it was, this gift spelled only failure. How did I know I would fail if I tried to […]
  • The Only Number That Counts
             For Mothers Day my youngest son —the crazy adventurer, Eric—gave me language lessons. This was one of the most inventive gifts I’ve ever received, and one I wished I could return. Thoughtful as it was, this gift spelled only failure. How did I know I would fail if I tried to […]
  • My Book Friends

    This week I had lunch with two of my oldest writing buddies – the ever fabulous Mindy Neff and equally fabulous Sandy Chvostal.

BEFORE HER EYES

Buy now!
BEFORE HER EYES

BEYOND MALICE

Buy now!
BEYOND MALICE

CHARACTER WITNESS

Buy now!
CHARACTER WITNESS

DARK WITNESS

Buy now!
DARK WITNESS

DREAMS: The 90s Collection

Buy now!
DREAMS: The 90s Collection

EXPERT WITNESS

Buy now!
EXPERT WITNESS

EYEWITNESS

Buy now!
EYEWITNESS

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Buy now!
FOREIGN RELATIONS

FORGOTTEN WITNESS

Buy now!
FORGOTTEN WITNESS

HOSTILE WITNESS

Buy now!
HOSTILE WITNESS
INTIMATE RELATIONS

KEEPING COUNSEL

Buy now!
KEEPING COUNSEL
LOST WITNESS: A Josie Bates Thriller

PRIVILEGED WITNESS

Buy now!
PRIVILEGED WITNESS

SEASONS: The 90s Collection

Buy now!
SEASONS: The 90s Collection

SECRET RELATIONS

Buy now!
SECRET RELATIONS

SEVERED RELATIONS

Buy now!
SEVERED RELATIONS

SILENT WITNESS

Buy now!
SILENT WITNESS
THE RECKLESS ONES: The 90s Collection
THE BAILEY DEVLIN TRILOGY: BOOK 1-3 (The Bailey Devlin Series)
THE DAY BAILEY DEVLIN’S HOROSCOPE CAME TRUE
THE DAY BAILEY DEVLIN’S SHIP CAME IN
THE DAY BAILEY DEVLIN PICKED UP A PENNY

VANITIES: The 90s Collection

Buy now!
VANITIES: The 90s Collection

VOWS: The 90s Collection

Buy now!
VOWS: The 90s Collection

THE MENTOR

Buy now!
THE MENTOR

Sign up for my spam-free newsletter and get Hostile Witness and the Spotlight Novella, Hannah’s Diary, FREE. Or get Hostile Witness FREE at your favorite online bookstore.

LET’S CONNECT!

Subscribe and get my 2-book starter library FREE:

Follow me on Bookbub!

Follow me on Facebook

Follow me on Twitter

Follow me on Amazon

Visit me at: http://rebeccaforster.com/

If you like a cop with a brogue and an attitude try the new Finn O’Brien Thrillers! Severed Relations is FREE!

 

×
She marketed a world-class spa when it was still called a gym, did business in China before there were western toilettes at the Great Wall and mucked around with the sheep to find out exactly how her client’s fine wool clothing was manufactured. Then Rebecca wrote her first book and found her passion. Now, over twenty-five books later, she is a USA Today and Amazon bestselling author and writes full-time, penning thrillers that explore the emotional impact of the justice system. She earned her B.A. at Loyola, Chicago and her MBA at Loyola, Los Angeles. Rebecca has taught the Business of Creativity at University of California Long Beach Writers Certificate Program, UCLA and UC Irvine extension. Married to a Los Angeles Superior Court judge, she is the mother of two grown sons and spends her free time traveling, sewing, and playing tennis.
  • Veronica Jorge says:

    Beautiful, Rebecca! Happy Thanksgiving.

  • Copyright ©2017 A Slice of Orange. All Rights Reserved. ~PROUDLY POWERED BY WORDPRESS ~ CREATED BY ISHYOBOY.COM

    >