In 2004, I spent a difficult period in Los Angeles after my mother passed away, sorting through her belongings, comforting my father, delivering a eulogy. After endless days being surrounded by relatives, attempting to communicate with aunts and uncles who do not speak English and forcing myself to keep a stiff upper lip, I was suddenly alone with my thoughts, quietly grieving as I sat in the plane awaiting the flight home. Oddly, I found myself comforted by the voice of the Boston-based flight attendant who instructed passengers to "prepeahh foah depahhchuh." It was the first time I had smiled in three weeks.
Deborah S. Liu
Last year, I was on the phone with a representative from a local bank. I asked for her name, since I had to fax forms to her. I sent the forms to "Miss Farmer's" attention and received a prompt call back explaining that her last name was not "Farmer" but actually "Fama," that she was not from Boston, did not have a Boston accent, and that the r's are not silent but nonexistent. Apparently, it wasn't the first time this had happened to her.