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Body Language

November 25, 2017

Powerful, Jake, Powerful!

Jake Owensby

My mother learned English informally by immersion. She entered America through Ellis Island from war-ravaged Austria speaking only her native German.

By the time I came along, her accent had grown faint. She navigated our English-speaking world effortlessly, but her vocabulary remained limited and you would never have sought her out for helpful grammar tips.

Her functional but limited command of English made writing a chore. That’s why she favored sending greeting cards over writing letters. When I was away at college or studying abroad, a card from her arrived in the mail at least once a week.

In her florid, Old World handwriting, she would sign each card, “Love, Mom.” Sometimes she would add, “I miss you and love you.” She never wrote a note longer than that. And yet, she always chose cards with lengthy poems or quotations.

6B70255E-3EDF-4B91-99A9-54A9477210CAFor years I looked at those cards in the same…

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