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职业导师伊莎贝尔小姐:人生际遇 皆是成全

kira86 于2019-03-18发布 l 已有人浏览
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人生导师伊莎贝尔小姐,我只是被雇佣的钟点工,她却用点石成金的妙手一步一步在无形中为我的职业生涯铺平了道路。
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48伊莎贝尔.jpg
48 Miss Isabel

伊莎贝尔小姐

I don't believe in power mowers, she said, "and on Saturdays you will work inside."

“我不相信电动割草机,”她说,“星期六,你可以在屋里干活。”

Sitting in the library of a three-story Victorian home with streams of warm spring sunlight dancing among the books nestled in the floor to ceiling shelves, Miss Isabel began to explain my duties as her summer hired helper.

我坐在那间具有维多利亚时代特点的三层建筑物的藏书室里—— 那里从地板到天花板摆放着许多书,春日暖暖的阳光就跳跃其间—— 伊莎贝尔小姐开始告诉我作为她的夏季雇工要做的工作。

I pay $1.25 per hour. Tuesdays we mow; Thursday is flower garden day, and Saturdays will be general house cleaning.

“我每小时付给你1.25美元。我们星期二割草,星期四修整花园,星期六给房子大扫除。”

I really didn't hear much past the $1.25, as in 1958, I was only 14 and that was a fortune. I had come to this opportunity by way of an older neighborhood friend who had worked for Miss Isabel for the past 3 years and was leaving for Notre Dame mid summer and so had referred me.

在听到1.25美元之后,我就真的没有再听进去多少了——要知道在1958年,这对年仅14岁的我来说可是很大一笔财富呀。而我是通过一个邻居朋友才得到这个机会的。他比我年长,在过去的三年他一直为伊莎贝尔小姐工作,但这个仲夏他要去巴黎圣母院,所以就推荐了我。

Can you start next Saturday 8 a.m. sharp ? she asked.

“你下个星期六8点整能开始工作吗?”她问。

Sure! I said, "I mean, Yes, Ma'am." There was something about Miss Isabel that made you say so.

“当然!”我说,“我的意思是,是的,夫人。”伊莎贝尔小姐身上有某种东西迫使你这么回答。

Saturday arrived, and at 8 a.m. sharp I rang the doorbell. Miss Isabel opened the door. "Good morning," she said, "follow me. I had some hot tea ready, but we won't have time, now. We're running behind. "

星期六到了,早上8点整我按响了门铃。伊莎贝尔小姐打开门。“早上好,”她说,“跟我来,我准备了一些热茶,但是我们现在没有时间了。我们迟了。”

Running behind? How could we be running behind? She had said 8 and it was 8 exactly. As Miss Isabel led me down the hall to the kitchen, she imparted to me lesson one. "I have found," she said, "that when you arrive at work 15 to 20 minutes early, it allows you to settle in ." It wasn't as cold, but I felt somehow I had cheated her out of something important, and I wasn't sure what.

迟了?我们怎么会迟了呢?她说8点,而现在正好8点。当伊莎贝尔小姐领着我穿过大厅向厨房走去的时候,她给我上了第一课。“我发现,”她说,“当你提前15~20分钟来上班的话,你就会有时间适应这里。”这不是指责,但我感觉就像我曾在某个很重要的问题上欺骗了她,并且我还不确定那个问题是什么。

Miss Isabel had already laid out several white cotton rags and a bottle of furniture polish . I had observed that the old Victorian house had highly polished ebony hardwood floors. I was about to find out how they became so highly polished.

伊莎贝尔小姐已经摆出来几块白棉布和一瓶家具上光剂。我已经观察到这所维多利亚风格的老房子的乌木硬地板被打磨得非常光亮。我就要发现它们是如何变得这么光亮的了。

On hands and knees I began to minister to those boards, with which over three years of Saturdays I would form a love-hate relationship. After a while Miss Isabel suddenly asked, "What's your favorite flavor of soda pop ?"

我在地板上跪下来,开始用双手去擦那些将在以后三年多的每个星期六与我建立起一种爱恨交加关系的木地板。过了一会儿,伊莎贝尔小姐突然问,“你喜欢喝什么口味的汽水?”

Orange, I suppose, I replied, not sure what this was about.

“我想是甜橙吧。”我回答说,不知道她问这个干什么。

I'm going to Ralph Brown's market, she said, "and I'll becoming back in half an hour. Will you please come outside and swing open the garage doors?"

“我要到拉尔夫·布朗市场去,”她说,“半个小时后回来。你能到外面来帮我开一下车库门吗?”

As I opened the doors, I saw, resting comfortably in the huge three-car garage, a pristine four door sea green Plymouth, circa 1947, and even though 11 years old, looking brand new. I would soon come to learn how this automobile stayed so spotless. Miss Isabel drove away, and true to her word, returned in 30 minutes. I had gone back to finishing up the floors, so she tooted for me to come outside. "Please carry in the groceries and put them on the sideboard ," she said, and off she went to the house. As I sat the groceries on the sideboard, she instructed me to dust down the Plymouth and put it away. Here lay a problem—I couldn't drive.

当我打开车库门的时候,我看见在那个能放得下三辆汽车的大车库里正舒适地停着一辆一尘不染的海绿色四门普利茅斯车。那辆车制造于1947年左右,尽管已有11年的历史,但看上去仍然很新。很快,我就会明白这辆汽车为什么会这么一尘不染了。伊莎贝尔小姐开车走了,而且确如她所言,30分钟后就回来了。那个时候我已经回屋里继续擦地板了。所以,她回来的时候就按响喇叭喊我出来。“请把这些食品拿进屋去,放在餐具柜上。”她边说边下车向屋里走去。等我把那些食品放在餐具柜上后,她命令我把那辆普利茅斯车上的灰尘擦去,并把它开回车库。问题来了——我不会开车。

Miss Isabel,I said, "I don't know how to drive. I'm only fourteen."

“伊莎贝尔小姐,”我说,“我不会开车。我才14岁。”

Fine,she said, "I'll pull her in and you dust her down and close the doors." Off she went with me trailing behind. For a woman in her late 60's and barely 5 feet tall, she was surprisingly quick, and I had to hustle to keep up. When I returned to the kitchen, Miss Isabel had prepared two ice cream sodas with orange soda pop. They were resting on a beautiful silver serving tray. "Bring these along to the library," she ordered.

“好吧,”她说,“我把车开进车库,你把车上的灰尘擦去,关上车门。”我跟在她身后。对于一个年近70岁、身高不足5英尺(译注:约1.52米)的女人来说,她的动作真是快得惊人,我必须紧赶慢赶才能跟得上她。当我回到厨房里的时候,伊莎贝尔小姐已经把准备好了的两杯甜橙汽水味道的冰淇淋苏打放在一个漂亮的银托盘里。“端着这些来藏书室。”她吩咐道。

As I carried the treats along behind, she casually suggested that I arrive 30 minutes early on Tuesday for my driving lesson. I was astounded. Driving lesson? I couldn't believe that I was going to get to drive. Lesson two.

我端着托盘跟在她身后,她漫不经心地建议我在星期二早上早来30分钟学开车。这让我大吃一惊。学开车?我不敢相信我就要学开车了。这是她给我上的第二课。

Miss Isabel took a seat in one of her chairs. For the first time, I took a moment to observe my employer. It was hard to believe that someone so tiny could be so impressive. I was accustomed to football and basketball coaches, big men, and even my dad was six feet four. But no one I had ever met was in such control of her surroundings.

伊莎贝尔小姐在一把椅子上坐下来。我第一次仔细地观察我的雇主。简直令人难以置信,这样一个瘦小的人却能令人印象如此深刻。我已经习惯了橄榄球教练和篮球教练那样高大的男人,就连我爸爸也有6.4英尺(译注:约1.95米)高。但是,我见过的所有人中还从来没有一个人能像她这样如此控制自己周围的环境。

Jerry, do you read? she asked.

“杰里,你读书吗?”她问。

Yes, I can read really well, I replied.

“是的,我读得非常好。”我回答。

No, Jerry, not can you read, do you read?

“不,杰里,我不是问你会不会读,我是问你读书吗?”

Do you mean for the fun of it?

“您的意思是我对读书感不感兴趣?”

Exactly! What's the last book you read for fun?

“对!你出于喜欢最近读的是哪一本呢?”

Riders of the Purple Sage , I guess, a couple of years ago.

“《紫鼠尾草丛中的骑士们》,我想那是几年前的事了。”

Have you ever seen Purple Sage? she asked.

“你见过紫鼠尾草吗?”她问。

I don't guess so.

“我想我没见过。”

Well, we'll plant some in the garden and you can tend to it. Now, Jerry, pick a book you'd like to read, and we'll discuss it next week.

“唔,我们将在花园里种一些,你可以照料它们。现在,杰里, 挑一本你喜欢读的书,我们将在下个星期讨论它。”

That started three years of ice cream sodas and book reports, although I never knew I was giving book reports. As we discussed the books, Miss Isabel could make me feel the cold of the Yukon, the heat of the jungle, the dry winds of the African desert and see the glitter of the jewels of King Solomon's mines.

就这样,由冰淇淋苏打和书评相伴的三年开始了,尽管我从来都不知道我当时是在做书评。当我们讨论那些书的时候,伊莎贝尔小姐能够让我感觉到育空河的清凉、丛林地带的酷热、非洲沙漠的干风, 还能让我看到闪耀在所罗门王藏宝库中的宝石的光芒。

For the first few weeks, I only reported my reading to escape the hated task of pulling the dreaded chickweed from the garden, but eventually, I came to consider those book review sessions the very best part of Saturday.

在起先的几周,我评论我读过的书只是为了逃避在花园里拔那讨厌的繁缕,但最终,我逐渐觉得评论那些书是星期六最令人愉快的部分。

After three years of polishing floors, learning to drive, and developing a permanent hate for chickweed, Miss Isabel told me one Saturday to come to work in tie and jacket. This seemed very bizarre for a lawn boy/floor polisher, but by then, I had learned not to question Miss Isabel's requests. Unknown to me, Miss Isabel had summoned to her home Mr. Fox, the director of the Springfield-Greene County Library, to have an ice cream soda.

我擦地板,学驾驶,对繁缕的讨厌有增无减,这样的生活过了三年。在之后的一个星期六,伊莎贝尔小姐告诉我,下次来工作的时候要系领带,穿夹克衫。这对一个修剪草地、擦地板的男孩来说无疑非常古怪,但到那个时候,我早已学会不质疑伊莎贝尔小姐的要求了。我不知道,伊莎贝尔小姐早已请斯普林菲尔德-格林县县立图书馆的馆长福克斯先生来她家喝冰淇淋苏打。

Mr. Fox chose strawberry, and as he casually sipped away, Miss Isabel explained to him that I was ready to start my employment with the library system as a page , the very next week. She went on to discuss my qualities as an employee, and spoke of my knowledge of authors, subject matter and considerable interest in National Geographic, although she claimed not to know why. But maybe she did.

福克斯先生选了草莓味的冰淇淋苏打。当他随意啜吸着饮料的时候,伊莎贝尔小姐向他解释说我已经有能力做图书系统的雇员了,下个星期就能去上班。她进一步详述我作为一名雇员的能力,说起我知道的作家、著作以及我对《国家地理》的浓厚兴趣,虽然她声称她并不知道这其中的缘由。但也许她知道。

Mr. Fox was at least six feet four inches tall, but before Miss Isabel, he became her willing-and-eager-to-please student. He immediately briefed me on when and where to report the following Saturday. Miss Isabel and I spent the rest of the afternoon discussing the responsibilities of librarians, and how I should find a suitable replacement for myself as her employee.

福克斯先生至少有6英尺4英寸(译注:约1.93米)高,但在伊莎贝尔小姐面前,他却成了甘愿尽自己所能让她高兴的学生。他立即简要地告诉我下个星期什么时候到哪里去报到。在那天下午余下的时间里,伊莎贝尔小姐和我一起讨论图书管理员的职责,以及我该如何找一名合适的人来接替我做她的雇工。

These things came to pass , and though Miss Isabel has long since passed away, I often think of the unforgettable time I spent among the flowers, sage, dreaded chickweed and books of Miss Isabel Shepard's home, or even some time spent in the Shepard Room of the public library, which was named in her honor.

这些事情都过去了,伊莎贝尔小姐也早已经去世了,但是我还是会经常想起那些我在鲜花、鼠尾草、讨厌的繁缕和伊莎贝尔·谢泼德小姐房子里的藏书中度过的难忘时光,甚至会想起那些在公共图书馆以她的名字命名的谢泼德图书室里度过的时光。

(By Jerry Hayes)

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