Posted by: yoko | November 25, 2003

Words From Childhood 11

Today’s word: cornucopia

Okay, so today’s word isn’t Japanese. It is, however, part of the story my mom tells about me every Thanksgiving.

In first grade, we had a special day in which we celebrated Thanksgiving in class. We had a specially decorated table which represented the first meeting of the Pilgrims and the Indians, and we had made artwork that hung around the room– construction paper Pilgrims with shiny tin buckles, outlines of mimeographed cornucopia colored with crayons, turkeys made of bits of tissue paper, and so forth. Our parents were invited to our class, and my mom had come to participate.

I’m sure there were other activities that were performed here, but I don’t remember them anymore. Towards the end of the presentations, right before the drinking of apple cider and eating of popcorn, the teacher asked the students and parents what words reminded them of Thanksgiving. As they volunteered words, she wrote them on the board. When the teacher had called on me, most of the obvious words were taken, so I said the word I thought no one else would say: cornucopia.

Some of the parents didn’t know what that was, and the teacher didn’t know how to spell it, so it was never written on the board. I wanted to say, “but they’re hanging up around the room!” but I was afraid of being accused of sassing, so I didn’t say anything.

I was mad that my word wasn’t written down. My mom, however, was very impressed I knew the word at such a young age, and so it became part of the tradition each year to recount the story at the dinner table, right after saying grace.


  1. i like you ’cause you’re hella smart
    i similarly wowed them in kindergarten with my arcane reference to the “horn o’ plenty”

    bet your classmates parents didn’t know that one either

  2. still upset that my fellow kindergarteners did not show much interest in the Sound of Music’s Goat herd song or Rembrandt’s Man In The Golden Helmet.

    alas, I was not as literate as you.


  3. that is a big word for a little kid. you just triggered a memory – i remember impressing my mom by knowing the word “lamination”.


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