Mrs. Russell made us both sit down with a glass of milk. "And I have a special treat for you," she said. I'm not lying. She really said that. I held my breath because of the last special treat at the Daughertys', but it didn't help, because when Mrs. Russell came back, she came back with a loaf of banana bread. Banana bread! And James said, "How about we have some jam with that?" and Mrs. Russell said, "Jam? Then you wouldn't be able to taste the bananas," and James said, "Ma, I hate bananas," and she said, "But I'm sure that Doug enjoys them," and I said, "I think I'm still full from lunch, so the milk's fine," and then Mrs. Russell picked up the plate with the banana bread on it, and you might not believe this, but she started to laugh and laugh a d laugh, until Mr. Russell came out to the kitchen to see what was so funny and she showed him the banana bread and he said, "I hate bananas," and we all started to laugh until Mrs. Russell said, "I hate bananas too," and you can imagine us all laughing until we were crying and finally Mrs. Russell took the banana bread outside to break it up for the birds-"Let's hope they like bananas"-and then I showed Mr. Russell Aaron Copland's Autobiography: Manuscript Edition, and he stopped laughing.
On Saturday mornings during deliveries, I'd practice picking out new words in Jane Eyre, sounding out the ones that needed sounding out—and I'm not lying, there were plenty. "'A new servitude! There is something in that,' I soliloquized." I mean, who talks like that? Do you know how long it takes to sound out a word like soliloquized? And even after you do, you have no idea what the stupid word means except that it probably just means "said," which is what stupid Charlotte Brontë should have said in the first place. When I delivered Mrs. Mason's groceries, she saw that I had Jane Eyre stuck under my arm. "Oh," she said, "that was my favorite novel in school." "It was?" I soliloquized.