Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Family Language or The Mason/Dixon Line Runs Down The Middle of Our Table

Funny this should be the subject of the Carnival of Genealogy. I have been thinking about the language I heard as a child of late. Language shaped a lot of my youth. Not a foreign language, at least not a recognized one. Perhaps it should be called more of a heavy accent. Now, my ancestors from both sides were here very early. Many, on both sides, fought in the Revolutionary War. So the language has always been English.
Our holiday table was actually the meeting of the North and the South. My father was born and raised in the Alabama Mountains. All of his family were southerners from, as they say, way back. On the other side of the table we have the North. My mother's ancestors were primarily northerners. So it was sometimes very interesting just listening quietly while people talked.
My maternal grandma, Della, whom I loved so much, would say; 'Hello darlin', come give grandma a hug'. Upon entering my paternal grandma's, Bizzie's, I would hear; 'Come give your maw-maw some sugar, girl'. Della was reserved and calm, while Bizzie was all passion. I heard Bizzie call her neighbor who had upset her, 'That damn Yankee woman!' Della would say, 'carry that' and Bizzie would proclaim, 'tote that over here!'
A southern accent seems to label you as lacking in the mental area in the north. I know this from painful experience. If I fell into my, what I called 'south', I was called names by the neighborhood kids. On the other hand, we often visited family in Alabama and a northern accent made you 'uppity'.
Yes, there was a family language, in fact, two. I loved both grandmas' and that tends to overcome any language barriers. So, I am fluent in two languages. Perhaps I am even the bridge between them.
I would love to hear both my grandmas greet me if only once more.

Submitted to the Carnival of Genealogy for August 15th edition, "The Family Language".
Also part of: 2008 Summer Games/Genea-Blogger Group on Facebook - for 4. Write, Write, Write! - B. Participate in a genealogy or family history related blog carnival.

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