The Conversationalist




I have been told I talk a lot, or, I believe the word is–‘chatty’. I don’t really mind being labeled that as my Grandmother always told me if you didn’t ask questions, you’d never know anything. By the looks of my baby book that my late Mother began her entries in after I was born in 1951; she drove herself crazy marking down “Baby’s First Words”.  I know she wanted me to say “Mama” first but I dropped old Dad’s name instead at 8 months.


It also seems my early silence to her was an enemy as I have never heard of any child with such a big vocabulary at 18 months unless they were Doogie Howser. I failed math three times in Grade 8 and got a final mark of 29 out of 200, so brainiac I am not. I remember my poor Father’s face when he saw that report card and asked if they couldn’t have given me more marks for neatness. I should have asked him if saying “Bye Bye Daddy” at 17 months made up for anything.


My Mother was not going to accept the sound of crickets between us so the vocabulary was flying until I was 18 months. She stopped documenting after that, so obviously we were having many fireside chats at the age of 2. Apparently word at the A & P was the child across the street didn’t talk until he was 4. That was about the time Diefenbaker was running. Somehow his first word was “Diefenbaker’ and it was gossip fodder for months on Albert Street in Cowansville.


My Grandfather Crittenden used to visit on weekends and would always rub his hands before he ate and say “lordy, lordy, lordy”. When I was a wee gal I would sit next to my him and copied everything he did. One fine morning at breakfast, I broke the seal on my voicebox once again with new words and said “lordy, lordy, lordy” in sync with him. Funny I never saw that documented in my baby book.


Another family story was that my Father was chopping wood for my Grandmother Knight when the axe head came off the handle, striking him in the foot. This caused him to yell “sh*t,” which caused me to repeat it for the rest of the day. Sixty years later that word is still my instinctive response to being startled.


I was never neurotic about speech with my own children like my Mother was. I believe my oldest son’s first word was “Holstein” at 10 months, and he hasn’t stopped talking since. Skyler was a collicky baby so rides in the country was a daily event to calm him. I was always pointing out the different cows in the fields for his vocabulary benefit. As long as you talk to your children and keep them interested you can’t go wrong making animal sounds in the car which was interesting to him and the folks passing by in their cars.


Today baby’s first words have been said to be “tablet” or Amazon’s “Alexa” which shows how many children have switched to tech modes of entertainment similar to  Ipads and the like. It just marvels me how my young Granddaughters can manoeuvre these things while I can just play slots on my iPad.


I have come to the conclusion that at 67 my conversational skills encouraged by my Mother will never stop. They say the less you talk the more people listen–maybe that’s why no one ever listens to me these days..




About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

7 responses »

  1. Hi Linda, I came over from Susie’s party.
    My first grade teacher told me that my tongue can go around my neck ( apparently another way of saying I talk too much). But then later on as I grew up, I hardly spoke. I became an introvert and its not until I started working that I realised that I could actually start a conversation.
    So nice to have that photo with your first words written on it.


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