Introductions—Caught in a Pattern

picnic at the concert
picnic at the concert; photos courtesy of and copyright Free Range Stock,

For the Fourth of July holiday in 1985, I drove down the highway from Dutchess County, New York to be with my family in Maryland. We had continued our routine of attending the National Symphony concert held on the Capitol Hill Lawn. Picnic-style, we would eat and then listen to the music.

Maureen O’Reilly and I had met earlier that year and she, too, would be visiting her family in Montgomery County. I invited her to join my family for the concert. We agreed to meet earlier in the day at one of the museums on the Mall. Most of the museums belong to the network of the Smithsonian, though the National Archives and the National Art Galleries are separate.

Maureen and I wandered the chosen museum, then out into the heat of the day. The Folk Life Festival may have been going on, as well. I think even the Beach Boys were giving a concert further down the mall.

We rendezvoused with my family among the crowd of other music lovers. I began the introductions:

“This is Maureen O’Reilly, my friend from IBM.”

“This is my sister, Joan”

“This is my sister, Margaret”

“This is my brother, Thomas”

“This my father, Dad”

We all burst out laughing, as the pattern of relationship and name had been what I called them. After the laughing subsided. I introduced my Mom.

“This is my mother, Betty Meixner”

Seeing a pattern is something I’m good at. Having a routine is a pattern. Sometimes, though, being caught up in a pattern produces a good laugh for all involved.

Have a productive day,

Anne Meixner

Dear Reader–What memory does this piece spark in you? Did you have nicknames for your relatives? Please share your comments or stories. You, too, can write for The Engineers’ Daughter–See Contribute for more information.

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