Friday, July 16, 2010

Flashback Friday - The Things We Say

  • Always wear clean underwear in case you're in an accident.
  • Money doesn't grow on trees.
  • Wait 'til your father gets home.
  • If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times.
  • Stop crying or I'll give you something to cry about.
  • This hurts me more than it hurts you.
These are some of the common parental cliches that kids hate to hear. . .and then they grow up and say them to their kids!
What sort of sayings, colloquialisms, or proverbs did your family say when you were growing up? When were they used? What do you find yourself saying that you vowed you would never say? What do you say that drives your kids nuts? Is there a regional aspect to your speech? Do you have an accent and were you ever teased about it?

My parents didn't say the more common cliches, but our family definitely had unusual sayings!
  • Always take your purse so you'll have some identification in case you are in an accident. My mom never worried about whether my underwear was clean; she just wanted to be sure they could identify my body! She fretted about car wrecks - probably because her mom was hit by a car while riding a horse and also because she and my dad had some friends killed in a wreck when they were in their early twenties.
  • I'm going to throw you in the country club ditch. My dad said this a lot when he was teasingly aggravated with us. We lived across the street from the back side of a golf course/country club. (It was nothing fancy or high dollar.) A huge ditch - almost like a small bayou - rimmed that side and that was what he was referring to. I don't know what made him think of that, and I never worried that he actually would. Besides, unless we had gotten a lot of rain, there wasn't any water in it!
  • Well, I'll swan (or) I'll swanee. This was one of my paternal grandmother's hallmark sayings when things surprised her or didn't go well. I remember her using it most when she was playing 42 or Canasta and didn't like the domino or card that she drew.
  • I'm going to send you off to shuffling school. My dad said this a lot when he was playing 42 and didn't like his hand!
  • It's a special occasion! When I was little, I loved "special occasions" because it meant I got to stay up late or have some other privilege that the older siblings had. I could make a special occasion out of anything and often told my mom "it's a special occasion" in order to lobby for the special privileges for the most minor reason. The saying eventually became a bit of a joke in our family.
  • Fixin' to. This wasn't unique to my family, of course. In my first job after graduating from nursing school, one of my coworkers (from Wisconsin) used to give me a hard time about this. She thought it made no sense. To her, fixing meant you're repairing something!
  • Feeder. This is what Houstonians call the access road on the side of the freeway. I've never heard it said anywhere else!
  • Second joint. This is the thigh of a chicken. My maternal grandmother thought it was indelicate to call chicken parts by their anatomical name. So we had second joints, white meat (the breast), and of course, the drumstick. I've never heard anyone but my maternal extended family say "second joint."
  • Veal cutlets. This one came back to bite me when I was grown. This is what my mom called tenderized cube steaks. She got these on "special occasions" when she didn't want to serve the tougher round steak that she usually used for chicken fried steak. The problem came when I had graduated from college: I was making dinner for a guy I wanted to impress so I decided to buy "veal cutlets." But my grocery store didn't carry them. I finally found a little butcher shop that had (real) veal cutlets. I knew when I saw them that wasn't what my mom had fixed. (Plus they were about $15/pound!) Moral of the story: be sure your kids know what the real names of things are before they grow up and leave the house!
  • I'm going to knock you into the middle of next week. Both of my folks said this, usually when they were mildly aggravated with us.
  • Stop crying or I'll give you a spanking. This was my parents' version of "I'll give you something to cry about." I always thought to myself, "A spanking will just make me cry more!"
Despite what those last two sayings indicate, I promise that we weren't a violent family!

My maternal grandmother also didn't allow people to say "I'm full;" she thought it was rude So my granddaddy, who was a lawyer, came up with this for the grandkids to say;
I've had a sufficiency
Any more would be superfluous
And prove very deleterious
To my corporal mechanism.
Most of the time we just shortened it to "I've had a sufficiency." Now you know something that only my siblings and cousins ever knew!

The one thing I always hated my mom saying was "That's disrespectful" when she scolded me for being sassy or talking back. I don't know why it bugged me so much - something about the tone in her voice. I've cringed when I've caught myself saying that to my kids!

I've always had a southern accent; actually, it's an East Texas southern accent. I didn't realize how much of an accent I had until I went to college and my "northern" (from Dallas!) friends teased me about it. They used to ask me to count to ten just so they could hear me say "neye-yun" (nine). As a result, I really worked on how I said things and my accent's not as bad as it was, although I'm sure it's still there.

What say you?! Post your memories and link up here!


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Susan said...

So much fun! :) You reminded me of a couple of things we said that I didn't think of for my post: "fixin' to" and "I swanee". Also, when I was a senior in high school, I said I was "waiting on" someone, and my friend, whose parents were from up north, thought that was hilarious. Now I say "waiting for" because it really didn't make sense to say I was waiting on someone.

Jim said...

Hey Linda, you did really good with this one. Of course you should, you're our teacher!

I loved your 'veal cutlets' story. Isn't it weird all the strange things we learn for one reason when we're young?

Thanks for telling about the " Fixin' to" bit. That is Southern for sure. Mrs. Jim says that as she is from Louisiana. We didn't even hear of that talk up in Nebraska where I grew up.
The same goes for make it to meaning close the door most of the way.
I hope you'll forgive me. We are still traveling but after our Baltic cruise now there is a little more time for blogging.
What I want you to forgive is that I did last weeks FB Fri instead of this weeks. I had gotten it started on the boat but not finished.

Jim said...

My 3:16 AM above is 9:16 AM London time!

Joyce said...

This was fun to read and fun to play along today...I've never hear of I'll swan. I've lived in the south so 'fixin to' is familiar : ) And now I'm craving chicken fried such thing in NJ.

Have a nice weekend!

Robin @ Be Still and Know said...

My Flashback is up and running!

Loved all the sayings and expressions.

From on southern girl to another this was fun. Suprisingly I have actually used the "I'll swanee" many time myself or the ever popular "Land o Goshen!"


Kathy said...

Linda this was so much fun! I didn't think of "I'll swanee", or "fixin' to" or even "waitin' on", but I know all of those! I really enjoyed your post! I always look forward to Fridays since joining your meme. It's fun to look back and remember! Thanks!

Diana said...

Loved reading through these!!

Barbara H. said...

My mom or grandmother used to say "I'll swan" or "I'll swanee" and "Land o' Goshen." An we talked before about the feeder. That's funny about the veal cutlets. I had never heard of second joint before not the country club ditch or shuffling school.

quilly said...

Fun. My Gram had a lot of sayings that sound positively violent but really weren't. Whenever we were joking and I got the best of her she would tell me to go get her something to beat me with. Or sometimes she would threaten to knock me into next week. Generally we were laughing when such things were said, so no one ever took them too seriously.

skoots1mom said...

funnnnnn; had to make an audio for this one...
soooo late getting in...

rita said...

Great memories.
Your list reminded me of more.
Funny how we turn into our mothers.

I also remembered a joke about the nervous guest who said:

"What there was of it was good,
and such as it was it was a plenty."

Thanks, Linda!