Own Words

My partner, Julia, comes from good New England stock (Andover, the Cape)—at least on her father’s side—though her grandmother, Dom, from what I’ve heard, birthed mainly fabulous black sheep: a flute-playing sprout grower, a postcard-collecting inventor. Two of the things that came down through this line to Julia was a great chiseled face and an accent only a few shades lighter than Katherine Hepburn’s. The accent comes with an attitude.

One day recently, I said something to Julia that she took issue with, and, wanting to show her distaste it for it, she spoke. What she meant to say was “Honestly,” as in “Honestly, Dahling,” but something must have got screwed up in her brain, because she simultaneously said, “Really,” as in “Really, you silly ape.” What came out was this: “Rhonestly.”

Rhonestly. You can’t exactly stay on your high horse with a word like that. So you’re going to hear that from time to time, and maybe the word yes/no, which a girl doesn’t like, but sometimes can’t help.


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