Friday, February 22, 2013: Don’t Blame Me, I’m Just a Sponge

Dear Babies,

I read an article recently about how we learn. Apparently, we are sponges absorbing from the beings around us. We are hard-wired to share. The sound advice given in the article is to surround yourself with smart people. Please refrain from any remarks about you two spending your waking days and some sleeping nights with me, please.

It’s not just people who will affect you. It is things. It is your environment. You’ll see when you’re older all the little pieces that make up the rhythm of your day. Maybe you’ll notice in junior high when you’re changing classes, how in between bells you begin to pass the same people around the same time in the halls…there’s so and so in the C-wing, heart

It’s more noticeable in the City where there is more background noise to color your world. You’ll board the downtown 1 train and hear the mariachi band blaring think, ah, there they are, I must be on time.

I’m a reader, as in I read everything, from random newspapers lying around to backs of toothpaste. In this way, as a captive audience on the subway, I was an advertiser’s dream come true–as well as a mentally-unstable-brainwashed-doomsday-predicting-preacher handing out fliers about the end of the world tomorrow, but still.

I remember an ongoing subway campaign for Barnes and Noble featuring excerpts or poems. I would sit everyday, twice a day, and look up at these things…

…Last night we had dinner at Friendly’s. I brought home a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Sundae for your dad.

But by the time we got home and I put you to bed, it had been sitting out on the counter for some time, you see. It had melted, and I love do love me some melted vanilla ice-cream.

The peanut butter and chocolate had melted into it, too, and it was so messy, so beautiful…

Bad angel on my shoulder said eat it.

Good angel said no, save it for your husband.

Then, the poem came to mind, the sight of one of those Barnes and Noble ads resurfacing in my memory like a buoy at just the right time:

This is Just to Say

By William Carlos Williams

I have eaten

the plums

that were in

the icebox

and which

you were probably


for breakfast

Forgive me

they were delicious

so sweet

and so cold

By Luisfi

I ate the well-intended sundae. I ate the whole thing. I ate the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup that came with it. When I was done, I licked the spoon.



6 thoughts on “Friday, February 22, 2013: Don’t Blame Me, I’m Just a Sponge

  1. Anonymous says:

    Great post! Again! 🙂 When teaching in the city I too was a subway sign reader(the 2 uptown) and I looved that Barnes and Noble campaign. 🙂 The reading other options were- If you see something, say something. This made me a little jumpy at times. Did I see something!?! Did I miss it? And another was- Watch the gap. I aways found myself thinking- why??? Did something sad and aweful happen? I took the babies on the train last week to Seame Live and I found myself clutching them, walking slowly and carefully watching the gap. lol. The poems on the other hand used to make me smile…

    • amydenby says:

      Ah yes, the see something say somethings, or the ads for something like Remy I would study and try to figure out what it was, I know it’s alcohol, but scotch? Is it a brandy? What is brandy? Good times…and speaking of real good times, Sesame Street Live! These guys loved it! (up to a point, we left 15 minutes early, intermission invoked meltdown time)

  2. Jackie Kepke says:

    I used to love sitting on the subway and reading those Barnes & Noble ads. I now teach 7th grade English, and I was lucky enough to be sent those ads as posters for my classroom. It’s always been my wish that years from now one of my students will say, “I can’t remember what I learned in Mrs. Kepke’s class, but I’ll always remember that poem I used to read on her wall when I was bored.”

    • amydenby says:

      It’s funny the things we remember about our childhood teachers and the little memories that stick. I remember a sign in my second grade classroom that said “think what you drink” with a cartoon milk carton. That was a great score getting those signs, and those lucky students! Someone, sometime, will remember! Thanks for reading– Amy

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