Monday, May 31, 2010

Hannah - Discussion Thread

Betty Keira and I have an ongoing frustration with our separate libraries...for whatever reason, we seldom seem to have the same edition of any given Neels.
Her: it's on page 59 in my book...
Me: Umm...which edition do you have? Mine is a "Best of"...
Her: Mine's not. In my book the scene happens just before chapter 4.
Me (madly rifling through): Ah, got it.
I was therefore quite pleased that we have the same edition of is good. [Betty Keira] I know. Life IS good.

In spite of the Great Neels predilection of often giving us ultra-specific medical terminology, she leaves us wanting a little more right at the beginning of Hannah. Little Paul's mum is in the hospital, she uses a 'monkey rope' to lift herself up in her hospital bed...I couldn't find any references or pictures that went with I'm going out on a limb and say that it's that triangle thingy hung from what looks like a Balkan frame (we read a lot about Balkan frames back in Damsel in Green). We're never told exactly what brought Mevrouw van Eysink to the hospital...but Hannah gives us a clue when she says that Mevrouw will have to wear a 'hip spica' for a bit when she leaves hospital. So....something to do with hips? Perhaps she was driving her Jaguar too fast and was in a motor car smash-up...breaking her hip and forcing her to have an emergency C-section to deliver the premature Paul. We Hanna (no extra H) Bettys have a brother, Brian, who broke his hip a couple of years ago...he was tossing trash into the solid waste disposal unit (dump) and fell into the giant dumpster better known as The Gaping Maw of Doom. They're massive enough to drive little tractor-plows in to compact it--maybe the size of a few houses. The Founding Bettys grew up without curbside garbage pick-up so would haul our trash to the dump in a trailer from time to time. So, so cool and you have to be very conscious of how much you throw away. It was a clean fracture, so he didn't have to have a cast or a brace, but he was supposed to be confined to a wheelchair for 4 weeks - he lasted 2 weeks before his wife started getting calls from his co-workers (it's a small town) ratting him out - he had ditched the wheelchair at work and used crutches. After 8 weeks on crutches he was good to go. Except that he has had to put up with more than a little snickering and teasing from his sisters. None of the above look comfortable to wear with a C-section scar, fyi.

A little bit of aristocracy... Hannah's nursing superior is referred to as "The Honorable". Sister Thorne is the younger daughter of a viscount. Being called "The Honorable" just doesn't have the same ring as "Lady". Can you be both?

Hannah and her mum have some noisy neighbors. Above them, they have an old lady who walks with a stick...and they can hear every tap. The downstairs neighbors are 'ardent disciples of pop music'. 1980 pop music: After a few minutes of exhaustive searching on the inter-web-nets, I came to the conclusion that the top song of 1980 was....Call me by Blondie (If I lived above those neighbors, they would have had to put up with me dancing and singing along...which probably would have put a stop to playing the music loud). What other hits of 1980 might the neighbors be listening to? Let's take a trip in the Uncrushable Time Machine:
Hannah's drippy mother is of the selfish absorbed species. Even though she spends her evening watching tv and knitting, she doesn't like Hannah to go out with friends...a little gentle chiding and the pressure of guilt squashes Hannah practically flat. Her leisure has become so restricted that for fun she takes a long time choosing books at the library. When Dr. van der Stevejinck was finishing up his degree (and we were dirt poor), going to the library was what often passed for fun for me. I still enjoy a good browse at the library.

Hannah's father was a 'rural dean'--what is this? a schoolmaster? A cleric? Anyone?

Hannah is a very good dancer despite having little practice--Neels heroines drive/don't or swim/don't but they ALWAYS dance well. Discuss. We Hanna Bettys (no extra H) are enthusiastic dancers with rather indifferent style...somehow one of our brothers (I'm looking at you, Brian) is possessed with the hips of a lounge lizard. Or at least he did before falling in the dumpster. I think we got it from Dad who has more passion than skill...


  1. Betty Barbara here-
    Thanks for the trip down Music Memory Lane! I loved the Blondie song--until I had the misfortune of hearing the Chipmunks do it!! Now I cannot hear it without remembering Alvin, Theodore and Simon squeaking their little hearts out.
    Betty Barbara now runs screaming from the room.
    FYI--the Pina Colada song also does that to me, without even involving the Chipmunks!

  2. It was fun to research what the popular songs of 1980 were - and to see how many of them I remembered. I may have to add one or two to my ipod before my next road trip(Call Me, I'm looking at you).

  3. Honourable. Easy Peasy question for anyone who writes British historicals. Daughters of dukes, marquesses and earls are Lady {FirstName} {LastName}. Daughters of viscounts and barons are The Hono{u)rable {FirstName} {LastName}. I could go on but we'll rapidly reach TMI territory.

    A rural dean is definitely a Church of England clergyman, though how he differs from an urban dean I couldn't say.

  4. Dancing in a Neels is always slow dancing (foxtrot or box step, I'm guessing) unless it's the Hospital Ball -- then it might be "gyrating" and "modern" particularly if there's a Nasty Nick on the scene. But at a restaurant (and really, Bettys, I ask you: when was the last time you ate at a restaurant that had a dance floor and people used it?) and with the RDD/REW (Rich English Whatever), it's romantic dancing.

    For this, among so many other reasons, I'd be a lousy Neels heroine.