For most of her life, Miriam E. Brewton-Anderson has been making people laugh.
Perky smiles flash across the faces of her kindergarten class at West Meade Elementary when she shares a good story, but now the 23-year veteran teacher is hoping to share her humor through her new game book, published in September by Vantage Press in New York.
For the last 20 years, the tall, thin teacher with the soft, pleasant voice has been asking students in her morning and afternoon sessions at West Meade to stretch their imaginations and have a good time learning.
Even when away from work, she is always looking for the humor in life.
After almost two years of collecting her thoughts, she is aiming to bring a smile to a slightly older audience through her new book, "Charades in Words."
In 48 pages, the brown-and-white book offers a new approach to the charades game. Two-word clues are offered in 19 categories, including sports, movies, literature and school items and events.
The game is geared toward teen-agers and adults. On one page you may find movie clues such as the words "Sob Release," for game players to guess the answer "Cry Freedom," or the clue "Battle and Tranquility" for the book "War and Peace."
Memories of Sunday afternoon games with her parents and five brothers and sisters in Spartanburg County, S.C., prompted her to put her ideas down on paper.
Before going to press, she would jot down her ideas on scraps of paper while waiting for traffic lights to change or during shopping trips. The ideas were later transferred to her journal and tried out on her husband, Oscar, and son, Michael.
"It started one Saturday morning when I went to the bathroom at 4 a.m., and the ideas were coming so fast," Brewton-Anderson said. "We went shopping later that day and I kept my journal with me all day. Before the day was done I had more than 50 ideas. I had so many ideas it almost gave me a headache.
"I didn't start out to do a book," she said. "The clues and answers just kept coming to me. Suddenly, I had over 500 items and my sister-in-law suggested that I write a book."
The book is being marketed at book stores locally and in her South Carolina hometown. It also is available at book stores in at least three locations out of the country where she taught on military bases while touring with her husband, a retired Army officer.
After six months of editing to include suggestions from the publisher, the book finally was ready for distribution. And in the Brewton-Anderson household in Prince George's County, that meant a small dinner celebration that the hard part was over.
"It felt good," she said. "I felt that I had accomplished something. It gives me some pleasure and enjoyment to think that I may be leaving something behind for others to enjoy."
This Thanksgiving, family and friends will be trying out the game after a turkey dinner. If the book is a success, she already is thinking of what she will do with the new batch of ideas that keep popping into her head.
The kindergarten students in her class may be too young to guess the answers to the clues in her book, but she has an answer for that as well.
Students in both sessions of her class are following her lead by writing books of their own about themselves, to be completed in March.