An abecedarium is an alphabet book, which we more commonly call an ABC book. The origin of the word, dating from the 17th century, is obvious from its spelling. It’s pronounced like the first three letters of the alphabet–ay, bee, see–followed by dairy-um. The slightly earlier, related word abecedarian refers to a person learning the alphabet, or, more broadly, anyone learning anything, i.e., a novice.
Because my twin grandchildren would be abecedarians, I created an abecedarium for them during the time my daughter was pregnant. It’s sewn from off-white canvas. Each letter is appliquéed to a page, along with an appropriate word. A is for, you guessed it, apple, and so on.
Because my sewing skills are primitive (you might call me a sewing abecedarian), this project saw me through many months of the COVID lockdown, from 2020 through much of 2021. As I worked, another safely solitary project glommed on to the first; I began chronicling what I was doing and what I was thinking. I was imagining those prenatal twins, gestating in New York City, while I was cutting out letters and troubleshooting sewing machine snafus in my Cleveland bedroom, and wrote them an adult book for the future, when they’ve fully mastered the alphabet.
The result, A Grandmother’s ABC, should be appearing in a few months. It’s in the last stages of preparation. This post is a heads-up. I’ll be sharing more about it in the weeks ahead.