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CORDELIA'S NOSE WAS PRESSED against the window pane. There wasn't much to
see. It was getting dark. A noise was coming from upstairs. It sounded like Ba-ba the sheep when Sparky the dog chased sheep into the pen. Trying to drown out the noise, she sang,
"WON'T - YOU - COME - HOME - BILL - BAI - LEY,
WON'T - YOU - COME - HOME ?
LA-LA - WHOLE - NIGHT - THRO - UGH."
She knew It was a grownup's song but she liked to sing it. It made Mama smile and say, "That's my honey girl!" It made everyone smile when she curtsied and said, "My name is Cordelia Benedek, I am three years old, I was born on day number one of the new century in Catawba Lake Wisconsin, United States, North America, Western Hemisphere." Mama taught her how to curtsy and say each word correctly even if she didn't know what the words meant.
Pa showed her words on the globe ball and let her spin it.
"This is where you live, this is your country, this is our Hemisphere.”
Other big words were in the red Farmer's Almanac and the brown Shakespeare book. Pa showed her where her own name was and promised to teach her all the words and names when she was bigger. Right now names were confusing. There was Ma who was Mama to Cordelia's own Mama, Pa who was Father to Mama, and Jeorg who was Cordelia's own father, Dada.
The door at the stop of the attic stairs opened. Ma Benedek came down slowly. She was fingering her rosary.
Pa Benedek looked up from his newspaper. "How is Rosalind?"
"She has strong pains. The Doctor says it will be soon." Ma Benedek sighed. "I beg
Rosalind, I tell her she must break with Mr. Ernest Goldman."
"Clara, she loves him."
"Because he makes promises, gives her presents. A silver tea set!" Ma shouted, "What for? Who would come to her tea party?"
"Clara, at a time like this? What is so all-fired important about those presents?"
"First a Greek boy, now a married Jewish man! God punishes her!"
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