05 March 2010


Etymology: Medieval Latin, ultimately from Greek parapherna , a bride's property beyond her dowry, from para- + phernē dowry, from pherein to bear. At one time it meant the separate personal property of a married woman, which she can dispose of by will and sometimes according to common law during her life. Now we use it to refer to any accessories or equipment, no matter to whom it belongs!

Hmm. I found that etymology interesting. But then I started thinking about my paraphernalia (in the medieval sense), and how I don't really view it as "mine" any more . . . the things I brought with me have melded into our common holdings and I can't even remember what most of those things were in the first place. I like it better that way, and I don't feel the need to keep tabs on "my stuff," as if I had to protect it from thieves. Neither of us has a mental list of private belongings; we don't need to keep things separate, we don't need to label it Mine and Yours. It's all Ours. I was surprised at how naturally that transition occurred.

On a completely unrelated note, there's a groundhog running across the field right now, and it's so cute I can't believe my husband (and brothers-in-law) can talk of "shooting groundhogs" with such glee. Yes, I know, the first time I find a groundhog hole in the backyard I'll want to get the gun myself. But the little fuzzball hasn't done anything to me yet.

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