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The “N” word

November 2, 2010

Spawn comes home from Art Club very excited after visiting the new exhibit based on the I Spy books and touring the rest of the museum and wants to tell me about it. I ask him some questions about the exhibit-which he has already seen with friends the previous week- and about the rest of the museum.

The Walters Art Gallery was one of my favorite places growing up and it houses an electic collection of far from a private citizen who died and left his collection to the city where I live. My Dad used to take me because it was free for me and cheap for him. I recall the giant frog fountain that used to live in the lobby, the Mary Cassatt paintings, the Degas, Picasso, Manet -you know-classics. He also collected all kinds of other stuff like specimen insects, jewelery, sculptures and other expensive stuff.

Spawn tells me about the exhibit and then says to me, eyebrows raised, “The paintings were, you know, the “N” word.”

I blink at him. “What?” I sputter, “What does that mean?” I ask squinting at him. Spawn blushes and insists, “You know. The “N” word.”

Still I am stymied. He tries to mouth the word without saying it. “I don’t read lips.” He shrugs and starts to walk away. “Wait, boy. Tell me what you mean.”

“I can’t. I can’t say it.” He blushes still.

Seriously I can’t think of what “N” word could be embarrassing at the museum. I am impatient, “Tell me what it is now, just whisper it.”

Spawn leans closer and says, “NUDE”.

I look at him and laugh. “The paintings were of naked people?” Spawn sighs, “Yes.”

Laughing I tell him,”NUDE, is not a bad word. We are all naked beneath our clothes man.”

Spawn shakes his head and walks away hoping I don’t ever ask him about this again or make him say the “N” word again.

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