In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

WITH RESPECT TO THE PALMER METHOD/Sandra McPherson handwriting course, 1920s useless useless useless useless —a studious life would practice this enough to please the flintiest judge. Why not badge, ridge, hedge, fudge, pledge (should a quill fledge). A girl might splurge, in private, and round a strict stroke; a boy might coach himself in the feminine -ess of use. She might become the feminine stress of useless. One day they're charged with coiling ink bales of wire. Hands roll so fast they don't see the barbs. Is part of them verb? Is all? A tumbleweed's botanical grandstand, a scribble's wonderland penned on wind. Make ten revolutions in one place: Can they embrace such politics and still compose a civil invitation? Never channel a heavy line. Light lines, light lines. Tremblers need speed. Stern ideals ask allegiance: Ifyourfingers pinch the penholder, scold them, say "Naughty fingers, stop pinching, just hold it," until they behave. Be earnest, befaithful. Tremblers need speed. The Missouri Review · 78 Clean hands will not smudge. Glide on yourfingernails. I write with my large muscles. Quebec is a very quaint city. Write well by sitting well. Youth is the time to learn. Acquiescent and principled, each child agrees to entirely slant, in ways one would never walk. Script's the defense umbreUas grant against a shove of squall. But more than that, the safety of the several: The letters from head to tail join hands and bear each other up. None fall. That's what connects us. Sandra McPherson The MISSOURI REVIEW · 79 DEAR DIARY, BETTY OFHELD, 1925/ Sandra McPherson There is a world of lemonade and swans, the young girls resting out the heat on lawns beside Parisian water and its ferrying skiffs. They have been out dancing and they're only thirteen. They were, of course, politely, firmly told to stop, in Paris, in public, two girls are not allowed to dance together even if they're both named Betty. Even if on other days they play Duck on a Rock, want dolls for a birthday, take goat rides down the Champs Elysées. You need to understand girls who understand a beautiful life with the depth of Rembrandt's conversancy with darkness, how it is really mixed into a climactic mist on the shimmering moon's palette of ecUpse. Betty draws and paints too. Shelled French village homes make awful lace, look like Pompeii. Near Villa d'Esté a view looks just like Catalina, which her famUy owns. (On Catalina, a boulder in the sun appears as though it had glass spears through it.) Horses with suits of sUver. Venetian lanterns. A funeral procession in Verona carries voices of so many children, she gathers the dead's a girl. In Belgian battlefields the trenches arefull ofwater and the trees nothing but stumps. A man with palsy treads in wooden shoes. These subjects serve in place of school though she loves her teacher in America with a galvanizing crush, and without blush, enrapturing Dear Diary with how beautiful is divine Miss Bell, 80 · The Missouri Review every scolding word coming from her mouth she adores, can't bear to miss her when Miss Bell is ill, so delivers her a concert ticket as pretext to see my darling open her door. She knows she's overblazing but trusts this watermarked confessor, this linen page. With girlfriends she plays cards without her clothes, until a rap from the delivery man. But likes clothes too: those bridesmaids dressed in pink, with brown straw hats, bunching roses on the side, pink satin bags with orchids and ferns. And there are other colors: In the afternoon, we saw a dead man, killed in a taxi, his face was purple and smashed in. Out of a letter from Elsa Armour II slips a news shot of Betty's grandparents, Wrigleys—thought you'd want to know. Under spring trees, with the Kellogg Betty and an unsmiling EngUsh girl—predictably!— she's reading Dracula. Caught in their own spell, they pick the hotel flowers, buy lavender ribbon in Evian, make bouquets to give their moms about to leave them with a governess who teaches leather crafts. Betty...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 78-90
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.