PERHAPS I should begin by saying that I have a part-time roommate. She has an apartment, but who can study with a TV going all the time? She comes to my apartment to prepare lesson plans. She teaches children. This is a splendid arrangement! She has the quiet she needs, and I hear about all sorts of fascinating things. We talk occasionally. After we made this arrangement, she came in with books and boxes. Marine biologists have specimens. I peeked in one bag; it contained bleached fish bones. Another box has something that resembles a blond ruffle, like a necklace. That is the beginning of shells, she explains. Each shell is individual. No two are ever alike.
One day she remarked: ``The oceans contain 99 percent of all living creatures. Only 1 percent is on dry land.'' I gasped, thoroughly shaken. *
My roommate is also a French teacher. She is native French. She learned French before she learned English, and this in New England. Sometimes she pronounces a word strangely. The other day it was dif-FIC-ulty.
French storybooks are magnificent, but I cannot read French. I was having an agonizing time, looking at the marvelous illustrations. Perhaps I could start learning French. Then a translation arrived, ``Babar [emphasis on the last syllable] Comes to America.'' The elephant family, in fashionable clothing, visits so many cities where I have lived. How exciting!
My roommate could never do anything the usual way. She drew a picture of Babar with the legs and arms separate. The children cut him out and put him together, using French names only. They learned French fast.
My roommate enjoys good music. She brought over a record player. When she puts on an excellent organ record, the very soft melody is positively enchanting.
Sometimes we have refreshments. It is absolutely unbelievable, but my roommate likes everything I like, so I just serve something, and we both have a good time.
My roommate comes to my apartment like a burst of brilliant sunshine, sharing with me a living kaleidoscope of glorious activities. I had thought to offer her a haven for study. It turns out that she is bringing me a priceless enrichment. * The Home Forum was shaken, too. We asked several authoritative sources, none of whom would either confirm the statistic or deny that it was possible. One doubting oceanographer did add that new sea creatures were being found all the time; for instance, those recently discovered around hot air vents in the ocean floor.