Saturday, April 28, 2012

An Old-Fashioned Girl

by guest blogger Sofie Kelly

My mother had a heart attack before Christmas. (She’s doing well now and thank you to everyone for your good wishes.) The morning after she was moved out of Coronary Care over to the rehabilitation unit, I bumped—literally—into the mother of a boy my daughter had gone to elementary school with. She was the physiotherapist on the floor.

“What are you doing here?” she asked.

I explained about my mother and the heart attack. She smiled and pointed to the right hand corridor. “That’s her in 2026, isn’t it?”

“Yes,” I said, feeling very confused. My mother is a tiny woman with a British accent and we don’t have the same last name. “How did you know?”

She shrugged. “I met her when she came in. She has the same old-fashioned manners that you and your daughter have.”

That wasn’t the first time someone has remarked on my mother’s manners. She was born in England. At almost ninety years old she’s still very proper.

It also wasn’t the first time someone had commented on my daughter’s manners, and as a mom it is wonderful to hear that my child is polite and respectful to other people. But I am taken back, a little, by the term, “old-fashioned.” I heard it from more than one teacher when we went to our first parent-teacher night at the high school last fall. “She always says please and thank you. She has lovely, old-fashioned manners.”
Old-fashioned. The term doesn’t really feel like a compliment. Somehow for me, old-fashioned manners conjures an image of curtsies and sweeping bows, not using the words please and thank you, holding the door open, or sharing your bag of pretzels. Then again, I was raised by that impeccably polite little English woman, and I do know how to curtsy.

So what do you think? Are manners old-fashioned? Does anyone else know how to curtsy?

And by the way, my new book, Copycat Killing comes out on Tuesday. If you pre-ordered a copy, thank you.
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Sofie Kelly is the pseudonym of award-winning young adult writer, Darlene Ryan. Darlene’s latest teen novel is Cuts Like a Knife, a Junior Library Guild selection. Sofie writes the New York Times bestselling Magical Cats mysteries. The next book in the series, Copycat Killing will be available May 1st.  Leave a comment and you could win a copy!

Visit Darlene's web site.

Visit Sofie's web site.