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« Babysitting Blues | Main | Keeping My Head Held High »

February 12, 2010


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There's nothing wrong with calling it a pocketbook! My Mom's was a pocketbook, too. When she went out with a fancy little one, that was a purse.

I still call the Supermarket the Market. I think people have forgotten that they weren't always supersized.

We grew up thinking that everything eaten at the dinner table required the use of a knife and fork. You weren't allowed to use your hands at all. As a result, we never had tacos or pizza or hot dogs. Those were lunch or picnic foods. I went to a friends house and tried to eat fried chicken with a knife and fork, much to her mom's amusement.

HAHAHA, I've always called it a pocKetbook, too!

I really can't think of any family quirks that should stay in the closet. But I can tell you that I got teased a lot by friends for the terms I used or how I pronounced words. I was the only one in my family born in NJ. My dad was from Chicago and my mom was from Texas. So I said "y'all." We had a basement not a cellar or a rec room. I said "q-pons" not "coo-pons" and I didn't pronounce route as "root." Also, bottle and mittens have T's in them. Then the one that got me the most flack... "pa-cahns" are nuts and "pee-cans" are what truck drivers use.

My mother-in-law calls handbag pocketbook! And the first time I heard it I thought she was looking for her diary.

Reading PLRH's pronunciations - they all seem normal to me, but then again, I'm from Texas. Darn tootin' it's a "q-pon" and they're "pa-cahns". LOL

As for me, the biggest legacy my mother gave us that I refuse to continue is that everything she cooked came out of a box or a can or included something that came out of a box or a can. Mom was all about the convenience...and apparently the sodium and preservatives.

That thing that keeps your food from spoiling? You know, in the kitchen, and maybe another one out in the garage? It's all cold and everything? Icebox. Yup. That's an icebox.

I LOVE that you call it a pocketbook. In fact, after reading this post I think I'm going to try to "amend MY ways" because to me, pocketbook sounds more elegant. And I laughed out loud with your fish story. We didn't eat fish when we went out, either. As an adult I found out it was because my mother hated frozed fish. And where we lived, not much was fresh. It wasn't until I moved to the Atlantic coast that I tasted "real" fish and now you can't hold me back, restaurant or prepared at home.

Pocketbook = purse
Buggy = shopping cart
Icebox = refrigerator
Missourah = Missouri

And sadly there is plenty more where those came from at our house.

We don't eat any food if Briefcase attempted to cook it. It has kept us all alive!

We don't eat liver at my mom's house, unless it is some we raised at the ranch that she knows is hormone and antibiotic free. I guess because the liver process those things, she feels like we'll ingest it or something.

I call my purse, a bag.
The refrigerator is an icebox.
A pond is called a tank. At home (in SD) a tank is called a dam, because they had to build a dam to hold the water. A pond is a pond because it doesn't water stock. So it becomes a tank, when it waters stock. Confused yet And they call Creeks, Cricks. I hate that one!

My Great Great Grandfather was run over by the drunk family chauffeur and killed. His wife took to her bed for 25 years. I was always curious about that turn of phrase..."take to your bed". I think its a Southern thing, like having a nervous breakdown.

And I'm always "fixin'" to do something. I think that's a Texas thing too.

I can only imagine our poor Moms if they had seen any of us eating Sushi..... which I don't really like and can't seem to force past my mouth anyway... maybe for the very reason your Mom suggested. And... it has definitely taken its toll on several .....

... some of it seems more like "Olde Wives Tales" ... but, one was being told not to go swimming when we were having our periods.... hmmm .... not sure why... but we obeyed....

and words...well, when your Mom is British and you live in Canada... lots of words got us laughed out of the room.... one of my first in memory is lorry... which is a then apparently, I promptly began calling it a "twuck" .... I was two ...

I'm afraid face cloths are still flannels most of the time... because old habits die hard. Mom said that one til the day she died.

A dish cloth is what you wash dishes with...while a tea towel is to dry them...
... the list goes on and on....

I can't think of any family legacies at the moment, but I'm from urban South Florida (lots of New York transplants) and I also say q-pons and y'all. I'm such a mutt.

The one that people give me the most razz about is the "cooler." When it's hot, you turn the cooler on. Growing up we didn't have "Central Heat & Air" - we had swamp coolers. They were these big metal box shaped monstrosities with filter like pads on all for sides. You turned the water on 'em and it got the pads wet and the air was sucked through the wet pads to cool the house. (Gosh, that sounds so archaic now.) So for short we just called them "coolers" which makes perfect sense to me as that is what they did. But I have friends now that think I am street rat crazy for calling the air conditioning (which, actually and by the way, is a STUPID name - it's not conditioning the air - it is just making it cold!!!) the "cooler." Apparently, now, a "cooler" is what you keep your beer in...

Oh...pocketbook. I love that one. Reminds me of my Grandma Jo, who also said "Vahz" (vase) and "amond" (almond)

And my Dad always hated it when we used the word "weird" and wanted us to say "unique" instead.

This was fun to read. Thank you. "Never draw attention to your flaws" is the first thing that comes to mind, for me. The idea that anything that might be seen as a flaw should be kept quiet. This might be a good idea once in a while, but there are some things that feel better once they are set free. I suppose this is a family legacy that should be left behind, at least on some occasions.

Ok the fish thing is a little weird.

BUT the pocket book thing is not that big of a deal. honestly. who cares what other ppl think. i think you should keep saying it. some family traditions/sayings/superstitions/whatever you want to call them are silly, but others are just an inside joke. i guess.

My siblings and i have lots of these. lol

Oh, this was fun to read - and sweet. I can see your eighteen-year-old eyes, wide with horror, as your roommate ate her cafeteria fish. (I have to say, I probably would not eat cafeteria fish myself, if that makes you feel any better.)

Worry. That was passed down in our family as normal. Intense and constant worrying. It's taken me a lot of time to get out of the habit - but I relapse once in a while. Sigh.

I realize you were probably looking for something more light-hearted, but that's what first came to mind.

Have a great weekend - filled with good fish and no worries!


Fabulous story! I read it to hubby and he had frown lines and then laughter.

I have one..I up on my housecoat, need a new housecoat. Both my grannies used that word to desribe a robe. It stuck.

Hubby has one..All his life his mother and granny would refer to the couch or sofa as "The Devan". Go lay down on the devan, get off the devan or stop jumping on the devan.

Great post, as always Maureen! You always help me to take a stroll down memory lane...and I love lingering there!

We were a typical middle-class family...with 4 kids to feed, Mom was always looking for ways to stretch the budget. She used to mix whole milk with powdered milk...and shake it up real good over the sink.

To this day, whole milk tastes like heavy cream to me!

Personally, I love the word pocketbook. My grandmother and great-grandmother called them that, and I think it sounds regal. In fact, it's funny to read this because I recently bought a new...heh, purse, at Target recently, one of those clasp closed small clutches, and I just want to call it a pocketbook because they remind me of what those ladies carried.

They also referred to a couch or sofa as a davenport, and while I've never quite understood that word for such a thing, from time to time, ti slips into my vernacular.

Once, when I was a little girl and my family was on vacation, I had a Tupperware cup of milk in the backseat with me. It had a lid on it, and, since I was a bored little only child in the backseat, I was entertaining myself by vigorously shaking the cup of milk. My mother turned and told me very seriously that I had to stop, because "shaking milk makes it turn sour". I continued to believe this until I was in COLLEGE, when I stopped a friend from shaking their milk carton, only to be teased by the stupidity of this notion. Duh. Now, of course, I TOTALLY understand why she told me this - who would want milk spewed all over the backseat!

I'd like to go on record saying that I grew up in the South, and a purse was not a purse or a handbag, it was a freaking pocket book...I still get grief if I call it anything else around the fam. And hose was not hose, it was panty hose. And cornbread was thin and crispy.

In the importance of being Earnest, the handbag refered was a large Gladstone. And Pocketbook goes back to this time also, except Dancebook holder, book packet and thence Pocketbook.

"Don't eat the last of the ice cream". Apparently our great-grandmother died after an ice cream social. We were always told she was scraping the bottom of the ice cream container, and it was made out of lead, and it killed her, which makes no sense.I think now it must have been salmonella, but even now my cousin tosses out old cartons of ice cream, "Because you never know".
We were always told not to walk between two parked cars "Because that is how your Uncle Ray lost his leg". To this day, I still say that to myself whenever I walk between two parked cars. My aunt now says Ray lost his leg from diabetes complicated by alcoholism. Oh, and whenever I come to a stop when driving, my right arm shoots across to hold back the person sitting next to me from the dashboard. Not because I stop so fast, but that is how I learned to drive from my Mom. When we were kids we never wore seatbelts, so it was an automatic gesture. I don't even realize it except some men I have driven with have found it confusing if not irritating. Funny to think how ingrained these family myths and habits are.

This post is so cute! We were never allowed to drink milk with meals because it "upset your digestion."

Also, never eat any mayonnaise-based salad at a restaurant (good advice, actually). And no soup at restaurants either, because all of the leftover "crud" went into the soup.

And as for terms, instead of "you are grounded" my Mama said "you are campussed" which sounded so odd. Also, "parlor" instead of "living room." Parlor? WTF?

My mother thought orange was horrid. Any shade. It wasn't until I was in my 20s that I realized orange wasn't evil, and better yet, I liked it! Now I have orange things scattered about my house. But I still have this funny feeling that liking orange goes against the grain.

yeah, that would be the one where everyone is trying to rip me off. If it seems to good to be true, it is, all the time. Taken me years, to work through that one ;)

This IS a fun post! When I was a girl, down here in the deep south, no proper lady went out of the house without her pocketbook, pantyhose, lipstick, change purse (yes, it is different - it went inside of the pocketbook) and a light sweater in case it turned chilly, y'all.

Shopping carts were called "buggies", crackers were called "nabs", sodas were all called "cokes" and dinner was called "supper."

I say some words funny, even by local standards where I grew up. Melk instead of milk. Orinch instead of orange.

NOTHING is worse than the South Philly accent!

My mother in law says pocketbook and handbag and dungarees. It drives me mad! I like purse and jeans.

My grandma grew up in Iowa and says things like Davenport and billfold, and for some reason I was embarassed of that when I was little.

It's so funny you won't eat fish out, because I only eat it out! Same with steak. But not just any old out, it has to be an expensive out. I don't even trust places like Red Lobster to cook it right! I swear I'm going to die one night after eating fish IN!

I am a pocketbook girl myself!

My mother-in-law says poccabook and passed it on to her daughter. She also say UM-brella instead of um-BRELL-a. That's Philly talk. Me? I say bubbler for water fountain and elastic for rubber band. That's Massachusetts talk. It's a wicked good way to talk.

LOL! I always thought that was an East coast/west coast thing. I've always called it a purse; everyone I know here in California calls it a purse. But everyone I know from the east coast and who live on the east coast call it a pocketbook.

I know; weird, right?? LOL

Linda laughs every time I say dungarees!

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