Each of my parents, like all parents, hoped for a better likeness of himself/herself reflected back in their child. I don’t suppose it occured to either of them that they could have tried to stretch the borders for themselves, rather than stretch the child. Still, I’m grateful, I know how to do most of everything.

Things My Father Taught MeThings My Mother Taught Me
How to paint a picture.How to paint a house.
Wipe down the whole kitchen (including the stove) after doing the dishes, otherwise it doesn't countTake the part you need with youto the hardware store, so the new part fits exactly.
Buy Brand X, and look at the ingredients.Buy two of something if they're cheap.
Watch people; they're entertaining.Watch women.
Weep; it purges the soul.Never cry; you'll look like a woman.
Never mix dark loads with white ones.Hold the hammer at the very endof the shaft, not up by the head like a girl.
Read great literature.Make art.
Be nice to people.You can't trust people.
Let women vent.Let women vent.

My father usually made our lunches, my mother drove us to the bus stop. I would watch his fingers float over the bread, the mayonnaise, the bologna. Delicate, handsome fingers, floating in the air like a storyteller. A few times a guest grown-up would remark on the novelty of a father who fixed lunch for his kids. They never saw my mother’s sandwhiches, which always consisted of hunks of cheese and eggs, no sandwhich, and no napkin.“Eat like a peasant,” she would say. “It suits your character.”