Wednesday, October 28, 2020



"Beaver is upstairs, Miss Landers. You can go right up." June Cleaver appreciated the "curb service" of having Beaver's teacher bring his missed homework assignment. It outweighed the problem of her movie star looks and intimidating IQ, but June nonetheless was glad her husband had earlier left for work. "I hope you can find out what's wrong. He says he isn't going back to school."

"I'll certainly try, Mrs Cleaver."

And no doubt succeed, Wonder Woman. "Er. . . .thank you!"

Beaver's surprise at seeing her come in didn't translate into action. A little embarrassed at being in PJs, he pulled the covers higher. "Oh, hi, Miss Landers."

"I brought your assignment and new arithmetic book." She set them on the nightstand. "What's this about your not coming back to school?"

Reluctantly he handed over a scrap of newspaper, titled "Local Girl To Wed". How could she do that?

Miss Landers spent a moment looking at it. "Beaver, I'll be teaching for some years yet."

"But Mrs Brittingham will be your new name!"

"Not in school. I'll keep being known as Miss Landers there."

"No foolin'? Still, you'll wanna start havin' babies."

"Not right away. Say--I'll bet you're wondering what the Culture Corner was today." The five-minute segments, just before recess, ranged from grammar and vocabulary to history and math; just about anything the class hadn't yet experienced. 

Beaver eased up to a sitting position. "I like those."

"All right, then." She sat on the bedside. "Take the word 'spark'. Create as many words as you can, at least three letters long, without rearranging any. Here's a clue: this one has the maximum possible, five."

He had to write it out, coming up with park, ark, and par. 

"The class found those as well. There's also spa and spar. It trains you how to analyze possibilities."

"Oh. How about the one for tomorrow?"

"Part vocabulary and part writing. The word is 'euphony'."

"Gee, I never heard of that one."

"It's defined as a pleasing sound, in music or speech. The dictionary isn't specific on how it's achieved, but it's essentially alternating vowels and consonants. Consider this: The ship's maiden voyage was a smooth one. Compare it with: The vessel's first cruise went without a hitch. Notice the hard stop between 'first' and 'cruise', where two consonants collide. That also happens between 'went' and 'without'." 

Beaver shook his head in wonder. "How come you aren't an atomic scientist?" 

"I'd rather shape the next generation. So then--you'll be in class tomorrow?"

"Sure! I don't wanna miss out on neat junk like that. Besides, you explained it better than my brother Wally. He said in a few years you'll be thirty--and old woman--and I'll forget all about ya."

"He did, did he?" Miss Landers had a strange little smile. "Do you think Wally would play tennis with me?"

"Gee, I dunno. Why?"

"Oh, just to give me a few pointers, since I help him with calculus."

"He'd like that. He's always showin' off for the girls."

Miss Landers patted his arm and stood up. "Fine. Tell him I'm looking forward to it." And showing him all the trophies after wiping the court with him. 

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