Monday, July 31, 2006

Thinkin' 'bout things


We always called my mother “Mama.” I can’t imagine calling one’s mother, “mother.” That always sounded cold to me.

The women of my childhood who were called “Mother” by their kids were the kind of women who were a little uppity in my child’s eye. They were the kind of women who looked like Beaver Cleaver’s Mother. Not my Mama.

Mama was a scrappy little midget. I was as tall as she was by the time I was ten. She wasn’t what she would have called “tray chick” at all. Bless her heart. ( Southern women say, “Bless her heart,” about every other sentence.) Mama wore her hose rolled down to her ankles when no one was visiting. Don’t even pretend you know what I mean when I say that.

Mama wore housedresses (is that still a word?) all the time when she was at home, and stockings with garters. Panty hose had not been invented. To save the nylons from getting runs, and I guess the garters were uncomfortable, she rolled her garters down and ended up with stockings on her feet with little donut-stocking covered ankles. That Mama. Pretty silly looking. Bless her heart.

When folks were visiting and then they left, the last thing Mama would say to them as they drove off is, “Y’all come.” Sometimes it was, “Y’all come, ya hear?” Even if it was just one person who was leaving. Damnyankees misunderstand that. They think that southerners say “y’all” to just one person. But it always means “all of you.” So when Mama said “y’all come” she was saying, “I hope you and your family come to see us.” The “You hear,” part is just added emphasis meaning, “I really mean it.”

How ‘bout calling your father, “Father?” I never knew anyone who called their daddy, “Father.” We called our father, “Daddy.” Women in the south when I was comin’ up would refer to their husbands as, “the children’s father.” Actually the lesser-educated ones would say, “my baby’s daddy.” Mind you, these women were married to their baby’s daddy.

When you call kids to dinner in the north they’ll yell, “Just a minute!” We answered a call to come with, “drect-ly.” One day in the seventh grade a boy named Paul turned to me and said, “Did you know that “drect-ly” is really the word “directly”? I told him, “Nope. Who’dthunkit?” It was a revelation to me. We had been saying to our mothers “I will be there directly,” when we said drect-ly. I always thought it meant, “Yeah, yeah. I hear ya.”

Well, I’m done with thinkin’ about my childhood in the south. I’m fixin’ to go to bed now.

Y’all come back now. Ya hear?
Bless your hearts.

27 comments:

actonbell said...

Yay! Great post, Mom.

Happy last day of July!

Pavel said...

Cute post!
I moved to Tennessee six years ago and have learned so many new expressions, like, "I'm fixin' to..." That's one of my favorites. Then there's "...a couple of three..." as in "a couple of three weeks." I always thought, well, is it a couple or three?

Tan Lucy Pez said...

Hiya Acton! Sweet Monday to ya.

Welcome Pavel. It's like saying "two or three weeks". My true favorite is "Yeah it does." No comma between "yeah" and "it." You say it after everything. "Looks like rain. Yeahitdoes." or "It pays to save. Yeahitdoes."

AP3 said...

Good ol' Granny (Ynnarg Yoda Pez). She was so sweet. Of course, she wore pants only by the time I met her. Well, I mean, she had a shirt 'n' all. You know what I mean.

Tan Lucy Pez said...

Yeah, AP3...I know whatcha mean. She NEVER wore a pair of slacks until 1963. After she discovered them, she took to them so well, that she got rid of all her dresses. She had to go out and buy a dress when 3D got married.

neva said...

LOVE this post! and hearin' more 'bout your mama... it almost feels like a trip down Mayberry Memory lane. i keep envisioning a shorter version of Aunt Bea and/or the "Mama" character Vickie Lawrence played on the Carol Burnett show. should i be conjurin' up visions of Granny from the Beverly Hillbillies? did yor mama call food vittles? doesn't matter. she sounds like a character and MORE than a little charming. not unlike yourself, i might add! bless your heart!!

and Bless YOU for this wonderful post!! xox

dddragon said...

And don't forget her purse. It even shows up in almost all the family photos.

And she saved me from Aunt Mary's wrath (heehee, cousin Fletcher caught it, tho)

lime said...

great post. my grandmother wore here stockings like that too. always made me giggle.

my understanding is also that in the south you can say the most insulting thing about a person as long as it's chased with a 'bles her heart' and a smile. that jenny, her rear-end is about as wide asa barn door. bless her heart. *smile*

Christine said...

I don't know who thought pantyhose was a better idea than stockings but I am so glad it seems to be going around full circle. Panty hose are hot and binding and not the least bit sexy in any way. Your mama had the right idea about rolling down the stockings to be comfy. Try doing that to pantyhose and you'll slip and break your neck. Thigh highs are the way to go now. Let the nether regions air out a bit.

Libby said...

tlp-the older women next door to me when i was growing up, had those SAME habits!! i miss hearing them say 'bless your heart!', followed by a great big hug!!

Fred said...

We called one grandmother Nana, and the other Grandma. I'm not too sure why, really, I wonder if that was their preference?

Funny about the pants. I rememebr pretty much the same thing about Nana. She wore a dress for most of her life, probably until two years before she passed away. But, when she discovered them, like Mama, she pretty much discarded everything else.

Thanks for the invite to come back. That usually means I can visit unannounced.

Tan Lucy Pez said...

Neva: No, Mama didn't say vittles. But boy howdy, she had a messa unusual words.

3D: Yep. Mama and the Queen. Always carryin' a purse.

Lime: YES! You can can any ol' thang about someone, and then say, "bless her heart." Then it's not ugly talk.

Christine: Letting your "nether regions air out a bit" is plum funny! But sensible as well. I might air mine out some today.

Libby: Sweet ladies. The world is full of them!

Fred: Yep. No other invite is needed. Jest come on, y'hear?

Doug said...

Dddragon, I remember the story about you and cousin Fletcher and Granny to the rescue.

Oh, lordy be, it's almost time for some rabbit rabbitin. I like to of forgot.

Doug said...

And Rabbit Rabbit!

Tom & Icy said...

Ya, woof, rabbit rabbit

The Lazy Iguana said...

ALL mothers in the south are called "mama" or "ma". In the south "Mother" is only heard when someone is watching a TV show on PBS that was produced in the UK.

But you already know that! :)

actonbell said...

Rabbit, rabbit!

dddragon said...

Rabbit Rabbit!

neva said...

Rabbit Rabbit! xox

AP3 said...

Rabbit, rabbit!

Sar said...

I love your tales of southern life, TLP.

I'm Mama or Mommy to my girls and I hope to stay so. I can't imagine being called Mother and I'm not a fan of Ma either. When we visit hubby's extended family in NY (think Italian New Yorkers) it's "Hey Ma! Can I get anothah stromboli in heah!" You'll note there's no question mark, because it's said in an authoritative not requesting tone. They balance it by being overly affectionate with cheek kissing and hugging. Again I'm thankful for hubby being the well-manered black sheep of his family.

Rabbit Rabbit!

kenju said...

Are you my sister? We grew up doing and saying the same things...LOL My mama always wore house dresses too, but not stockings; she wore "footies" with sandals (ICK!) Once when she called me to dinner I said "Gimme' time". Can you guess what happened next? I got roundly slapped on the butt and I never said that again!

You can bet I'll come back, TLP, ya heah?

mireille said...

I would have loved to call my mother Mama. If only she'd been that kind. xoxo

Peter said...

That was a great post Lucy, very edifying 'bout the language of the South.

Lucy said...

My grandma wore her stockings like that. Funny post TLP. Wonder why mideasterners don't have cute accents.

natasha said...

You got me thinking about "my baby's Daddy."

Around here, it's a white trash thing, that sounds more like "ma behbehdaddy."

I like to tease Mike by calling him "Ma birdeedaddy." Hehehehe.

Rachel said...

Ah, yes we said those same words too! And it was always Mommy and Daddy!! Great post with lots of memories for me.