August 23, 2010

It was the week between Christmas and New Years, 1977. I was fifteen and a half. The half seemed to be important when I was reaching towards adulthood. He was almost eighteen.

We were at my house, sitting at the kitchen table, paging through a book entitled Handmade Houses: A Guide to the Woodbutcher’s Art. It was filled with pictures of  homes made of scraps, salvaged parts, tree branches, stones, bottles, found glass, and imagination. Improbable structures, raised in the woods. These were moist and musty places, I could tell. Like life-size fairy houses. I had never seen anything like them.

As we studied each of the ninety-five pages, we pointed to things we liked.

“Oh! When I build a house, I want that!”

“I really want a sleeping loft in mine.”

“Me too.”

And then, slowly, without even knowing it, we changed our pronouns.

“In our house, we should have one wall made of glass block.”

“We have to have a porch.”

“Of course we do.”

We didn’t mark the page where our conversation took this important linguistic shift. But, by the end of the book we were We, and the imagined house was ours.

Today marks the thirtieth anniversary of the day we officially made us We in front of family and friends. A couple of kids, getting married, growing up and still discovering “I” and “me” while being and adding to We. Statistics weren’t on our side in this union. But here We are nonetheless. Though we still haven’t built that house… yet.

One nice thing… statistics can’t predict the longevity nor measure the structural soundness of a handmade We.


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8 Responses to “Pronouns”

  1. Annie said

    “We” is a very nice thing indeed. Congratulations and cheers! Here’s to thirty more laced with gorgeous grandchildren and time … lots and lots of time. xoxo

  2. Gary Spykman said

    Thank you Sarah. Every time I think of that day and that revelatory house-dreaming, language-changing conversation it re-affirms the rightness of you and I becoming WE.

  3. Congratulations and love to you both. You’re lucky people.

    …and notice how “you” applies to both of youse. 🙂

  4. Geoff Woollacott said

    That is very sweet. Congratulations.

  5. Lisa Kern said

    Congratulations! Here’s to at least 30 more years of happy, healthy “We.”

  6. Gary and Sarah,

    Congratulations on 30 years of “we”. I regret that our talks are not more frequent (my fault). Rhonda and I truly enjoy your column and blog articles, Sarah. They have depth, understanding, sweetness…they are very good!

    Best wishes for many more years of happiness together!

  7. Collie said

    Love it! Kisses to y’all. I think it’s very cool to ponder the joints (dovetails?) that make a We from a Me and a You.

  8. OwlSaysWho said

    Completely wonderful . . . and the pronouns are so telling, aren’t they? Congratulations on your journey, and may you have many, many more years of “we.”

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