The Day My Sister Gave Me A Dictionary

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The year was 1979, before the internet existed. Before computers were commonplace. I had packed a portable manual typewriter to take with me to college.

That was the same year that my sister gave me a dictionary as a going-away present.

A dictionary? It was the new college edition of the American Heritage dictionary of the English language. 1550 pages. It was two inches thick and weighed about three pounds.

At the time, I thought it was a weird present.

Boy, was I ever wrong. That reference book got me through four years of college. I used it to check my spelling for papers. I used it to help me designate word breaks when one sentence carried over to the next line below. It became invaluable to me and turned out to be the best present I ever got.

When I needed to know the definition of a word, I referred to it. And, as a trick that once a high school teacher had suggested, I check the definition of the word above it and the word below it as a way to triple my vocabulary.

And, decades later, I still have that same dictionary. Thanks, sis.

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