Where my name comes from

My screen name, I mean, Peg of Tilling (my folks tell me it took them four days to pick my real name, and the nurses wouldn't let me leave the hospital until they had something proper to call me). The name comes from Miss Mapp, by E. F. Benson, and the reason I bring it up is that I just learned that Tom, who introduced me to the Lucia books passed away suddenly in early November. 
Here's the relevant quote about the name–the chapter starts with a description of the town of Tilling, which is based on Rye, where Benson lived in Henry James's house (as a subsequent owner, not a room-mate):
"Tourists who had no pictorial gifts would pick their way among the sketchers, and search the shops for cracked china and bits of brass. Few if any of them left without purchasing one of the famous Tilling money-boxes, made in the shape of a pottery pig, who bore on his back that remarkable legend of his authenticity which ran:
"I won't be druv,
Though I am willing,
Good morning, my love,
Said the Pig of Tilling."
Miss Mapp had a long shelf full of these in every colour to adorn her dining-room. The one which completed her collection, of a pleasant magenta colour, had only just been acquired. She called them "My sweet rainbow of piggies," and often when she came down to breakfast, especially if Withers was in the room, she said: "Good morning, quaint little piggies." When Withers had left the room she counted them."
It's Peg because I won't be a quaint little piggy, even on the internet. When I see people around me judging the moss on the bark on the trees instead of seeing the forest, I see parallels in the Lucia books.
Tom was one of the people who trained me to work in reference. He would have me and other friends over for tea, and he also introduced us to sherry, Stephen Sondheim, and taught me how to make trifle–that's a lot of things I still keep in my mental trousseau. He was a very upbeat person, and I want to pass on the good things he taught me, so here's the trifle recipe:
–break up pound cake in the bottom of a large bowl
–drizzle with sherry
–add blobs of jelly
–cover with pudding: cooked pudding, still hot, so it soaks into the cake
–add a layer of fruit
–top with whipped cream, real whipped cream
He would also talk about Twinkie Trifle as sort of a nightmare scenario–fruit cocktail was involved, and Cool Whip. In his apartment he had metal shelves like you'd find in restaurant kitchens full of opera on vinyl–I wonder if he ever went to CDs?

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6 Responses to Where my name comes from

  1. jaypo says:

    It seems an energetic and creative presence is now gone from the world… my condolences on the loss of your friend and colleague.It's so funny to read about your blog name! In a moment of mental wanderings, earlier this week, I was wondering how you came up with it. I thought maybe you got it from Dickens' Peggotty (Peg o'T), David Copperfield's beloved housekeeper.

  2. Thanks–I forgot to add that on one of my first desk shifts the phone rang and someone asked, "Does Miss America have to be a virgin?" I kinda thought it was Tom, and I could kinda hear him and another colleague giggling in the office, but I just looked it up in the Book of Awards, Honors, and Prizes (sooo pre-internet) and answered it straight: she just has to be a woman of high moral character.

  3. lauowolf says:

    Oh, sorry to hear of the loss of your friend.Even when you aren't all cheek-to-jowl with some people, it doesn't lessen your caring for them.I hate news like this.And what a gift he gave you!Trifle, and Lucia – great stuff.(To this day I can't take the Moonlight Sonata seriously….)

  4. Aubrey says:

    I'm sad to hear of your loss – he seems like the type of person that can make one's world…better; someone who looks at the world with head tilted and a different view. Something, happily, you have inherited.

  5. TreeSweater says:

    Much sympathy on the loss of your friend! ((((hugs))))
    I love love love Mapp & Lucia! So funny and spiteful. Nothing of any importance happens, but the two ladies make such a grand strategy of it all. And Benson is a hilarious writer.

  6. TreeSweater says:

    And ditto to lauowolf. The Moonlight Sonata is so beautiful, but it gives me the giggles every time.

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