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  • We lived in a rent controlled apartment for several years in college. He had been in the States less than two years when we met, and while I was learning bits of Greek to speak with him, he was carefully studying the words and behaviors involved in basic social exchanges in America. Ordering at restaurants, talking to the landlord, I did things like this for the two of us.

    One morning we woke to the sound of the doorbell ringing. I jumped up to answer it. He came running after me with my robe in hand. "Don't forget your tada!" I grabbed my old frock and threw it over my sleepwear.

    It was the mail man with a registered letter for someone who must have moved out long ago. We headed back to bed. I was still puzzled about what he'd called my robe. "This, tada...or is it tara? this the Greek word for 'house coat'?"

    "No, no..." he explained,"This is YOUR word for it." I looked down at my flannel robe and tried to remember ever calling it a "tara" or a "tada." I mentally reviewed all the words I knew for this piece of clothing. House coat, bath robe, wrap, dressing gown. None of these sounded anything like "tada" or "tara." He must have mis-heard something.

    "I don't think I've ever called this thing a tada, honey."

    "Yes! You always do!" He insisted cheerfully.

    "When would I have done that?"

    "Every time you put it on, you tie the sash real tight and say, 'Ta-da!'"

    (photographer unknown)
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