Grits and Purls

Spinning yarns about the grit of life

I picked my daughter up from preschool the other day, and as she was climbing into the car seat, she bumped her head on the top of the door frame.
“Oops,” she laughed, “I cracked your car! Hey, Cracked—car. That rhymes.”

“Well, actually, ‘Cracked’ and ‘Car’ don’t rhyme. It’s the beginning sounds of those words that are similar and there is a different word we use to describe a series of words that all have the same beginning sound.”

“There is?”

“Yes, a big, long word. Do you want to learn it? Alliteration.”




“Yes. So ‘Dotty Dog’ is alliteration. But Dog and Fog rhyme.”

“Okay. So what about bump and thump? Rhyme?”

“Yep. And Fannies Fantastic Firehouse? What is that?”


“Alliteration. Right.”

All the way home we were coming up with rhyming pairs and alliterations. And as we did so I remembered this story from my childhood:

I had just learned about alliteration in a language class. I loved (and still do) the way the word ‘alliteration’ rolled off my tongue, and I thought the concept really cool too. Everywhere I went I looked for alliterative phrases. And, I was bursting to share my newly gleaned knowledge with any captive audience.
One day, I was riding in the car with my mother and older brother, and fate presented me with the perfect opportunity to educate them about alliteration.

“Look!” I pointed to a sign on a small corner shop that I had spotted. “Mamie’s Alliterations!”

My mother and brother started laughing. “What do you suppose they sell there?”

I think that I can now come up with some items from that little alterations shop on the corner:

“Broadened Busts for Buxom Beauties”

“Tailored Tuxes for Tuckered Toms”

“Shortened Shirtsleeves for Shrinking Sams”

“Pinned-up Pants for Petite Paulines”

“Fitted Finery to Flatter Fannies”

It’s a fun exercise, even today.

So now my daughter knows about alliteration, sort of. She’s better at rhyming. I can’t wait until her teacher reads a book with an alliterative title or text and she attempts to share her new vocabulary word. It will be interesting to see how it comes out.

Meanwhile, I can’t wait until I get to teach her about onomatopoeia. Now that is a fun word.

“Thump, Bump, Crash.” Hmmm. Sounds like a little girl I know may not be asleep after all.

© 2011 Michele Arduengo All Rights reserved.

One thought on “Mamie’s Alliterations

  1. Donna Ford says:

    Mamie’s Alterations – the little shop on the corner – was founded by my mother Mamie and ran until her death then my father continued the shop in her name for years afterward…. being in business for a total of 52 years until his death. This story melts my heart to have come across. My mother and father both would have loved to heard this story. Bless you.

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