Archive | October, 2013

Chapter Twenty – One: Born To Nanny

26 Oct
BTW when you are done reading this chapter. If you think thinking is fun; if you think philosophy should be for everyone try reading  TheMapThinker.com

Much of the hectic times are over. Dad gets weekends off now. Mom’s health is improving. We should be back on track, a blog a week, as promised.

Until L C worked for the Langlins she had no idea the rich are, in many ways, different from other people. That those who were rich belonged to a culture with its own history, traditions, and requirements, not all of which had to do with money. Etiquette, especially table manners, and good English played a far larger role than she would have imagined.

Nor did she realize that when she became a nanny she was joining a culture with a long history of being entwined with the rich. The Langlins traveled to Europe and other continents on a regular basis. There were times when she, and her young charge, would eat in the company of friends and associates of the Langlins. It was important that neither she, nor Guinevere, embarrass them with their behavior or table manners.

Until she took this job L C thought her table manners were acceptable anywhere. She knew which fork to use, and when to use it, she did not belch at the table, nor did she rest her elbows upon it. Now she was learning with a shock that the “Proper Etiquette” she had learned was in fact “American Behavior” and was not acceptable all over the world.

There are places in the world, even the United States, where you DO belch at the table if you are complimenting the cook on a job well done, and places where you not only rest your elbows on the table but you place them at a forty-five degree angle. Places where you eat everything with the three fingers of the right hand and places where you use a knife and fork to eat your good morning toast and marmalade. And in every one of these places the manners of the rich were slightly different from the manners of the poor.

While first impressions are of lasting importance and often determine how people think of you, how you act and how you speak at the table determine how you will be treated.

As nanny it was L C’s job, not only to know these things, but to pass them on to the future world traveler, Guinevere.

Now she understood why the former nanny hated her so much. The days were long gone when a rich person would pick a poor jobless girl up off the street and give them the job of caring for their child. Now days nannies went to school, got degrees, trained, and joined professional organizations.

They might not all be perfect people, and their reasons for becoming a nanny might not have much to do with children, but they had worked for and earned the right to be a nanny.

L C had not.

One day, on the spur of the moment, L C asked Mrs. Langlin about it. Mrs. Langlin smiled, and nodded thoughtfully. “It is true. Most nannies nowadays go to school and learn their profession just as a dental technician does. However they learn things everyone can learn. Few are born to it.”

“How can you be born to the job of nanny?” L C’s half giggle, half chuckle, exhibited the uncertainty she felt. She had never thought of herself as being “born” to anything. She had simply had the good luck to be born into a normal middle class household and grew up in a normal middle class way. Unlike some of her cousins who grew up with far less. Or at least this is what she had always thought.

“Thanks to your mother’s determination, and your great grand parents willingness to pay for it, you are accomplished in ballet, acrobatics, tumbling, and piano.”

L C almost blurted, but then stopped herself. It had not been her great grand parents who had paid for anything. It had been her step father. And he had harped on how much he had done for her every day of her life. Until she could not think of him without hearing his voice telling her how much he had done for her and how grateful she should be. He seldom mentioned how worthless her real father was, but it was always behind his voice. She stopped herself. Mrs. Langlin was so nice L C could not bring herself to correct her, nor could she rant about her personal problems with her step father to her boss. It was, after all, unladylike. Instead she replied:

“Accomplished, yes, but hardly a world-class olympic champion in any of them.”

“A lady would not be. Pushing for an olympic champion is something people who are striving to become something would do. A world-class lady strives to have grace and poise. Just as you learned everything you would need to know to be a beauty queen. You know how to walk down the runway, you know how to sit on a chair properly. You are quite pretty. You could win, you know.” Mrs. Langlin’s voice had been gentle. Now it had a hint of amusement. “Has anyone every suggested, or have you ever thought of entering a beauty contest?”

“Well… Well… No.”

“How far can you walk, in a pair of high heels, with a book on your head?”

“All day if I want.”

“You see. Other people strive to prove they are as good as your birth right. All you have to do is live up to it.” Mrs. Langlin’s smile was as bright as a rainbow.

“I see,” said L C but she really didn’t. She was trying to understand and it showed.

“L C” Mrs. Langlin’s tone was kindly, “You can teach Eliza Doolittle to walk down the stairs gracefully, but if she falls she falls. It is sad to see. Once you’ve taken ballet no one has to teach you to walk down the stairs, and if you fall, you will do it so gracefully everyone will applaud.”

The reference to Eliza Doolittle went unnoticed by L C. Nor did she consider that her cousin, who also had not gone to college, and was not planning on going, would not have recognized the name. But every young lady in the Langlin’s social circle would.

“She has an instructor to teach her ballet.”

“True. But she has no one to teach her to love it. She adores you, and you should have heard her go on about the two of you dancing Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.”

“I was unaware you knew I studied ballet and piano.”

“My husband and I have to know everything there is to know about everyone we associate with. You acquire a million dollars and half the state sees you as a money tree. They have one thought on their mind. That is to cheat you out of it. You acquire a billion dollars and half the world sees you as a money tree for them to pick at.”

“I see,” L C said, and this time she understood.

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because anything is possible with Charisma

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the Story within the Story

stillness of heart

MUSINGS : CRITICISM : HISTORY : PASSION

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** OFFICIAL Site of Artist Ray Ferrer **

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