Knowing everything

I have been a teacher for a long time and thus I know everything. Ask me a question, I'll give you an answer and it will be right because I'm a teacher. I will say this, I read everything.

I have been coming to Truro on Cape Cod since I was ten. I'm not bragging, it's just where we ended up for the summers. My parents grew up in Boston and the Cape was where they spent their free time. Sometimes I loved it, sometimes I hated it, sometimes I didn't come at all. As the years progressed, different things occurred. One year The New York Times had an article about Brush Hollow which was a beach a mile up from our main beach, Ballston. The article said that there was a nude beach near Ballston and I believe the Village Voice had an actual ad. One day we looked and the sand was completely covered with people, mostly men and mainly nude. We shrugged and continued to body surf. The people who ran the general store were busing them out since you had to have a beach parking permit. The store owners, the Schooneogans, were so blonde they lacked any pigment, their offspring reminded you of "Children of the Corn" and they charged a dollar for a completely rotted peach. Their laundromatte dumped untreated soap suds into the tidal river that ran past our cottage.

Then there was the discovery of swimming out on the Pamet. You jumped in when the tide was going out and ended up in the Harbor. We parked a car there and left some towels and drove home. A year later there were more people. Ten years later there were strangers standing on the dock explaining how they had started this "tradition" the previous year.

There is a Kettle Pond about 3 miles away with a resident snapping turtle. The Turtle showed up about 12 years ago and lurked, no snapping, just an ancient sort of turtle lurk. Then people started to feed him, pat him and the lurking became more pronounced. This pond barely had a path, then they built stairs and now some pedant posts the water temperature and distance across and lectures people about the history of the pond and the turtle. Someone has named him Elvis. I constantly hear people refer to the pond as if it was something they discovered.

I noticed this need to know everything when I was eleven and we were being exposed to art in places like the Prado and the Louvre. People stood in front of paintings telling other people what those paintings depicted or represented or symbolized or meant. Personally I loved to stare at the Rubens because the women had huge bums and bosoms and were invariably nude. This I could appreciate. And then it happened in movies. Before a movie even started, someone was telling someone else what the movie meant. Apparently, I was exposed to many literary genuises at a very young age. I told Edmund Wilson all about the Dickens novel I was reading and I told someone else, maybe our cleaning lady why The Highwayman was a great poem; it was morbid, violent and romantic, my three favorite qualities. I think I was a bit of a know-it-all when I was young but that's sort of okay in a kid.

Someone is always the first person to discover things. My nephew once told someone that his grandmother (my Mother) invented the atom bomb.He was only six. She did not. But my mother's good friend, Marina Whitman's father, Von Neuman, did. I'm not sure that's something to brag about.


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