The Machine and Family Language

To Grandma Rush the automobile in the drive was “The Machine,” as foreign-other as a horse and buggy would be to me. She never called the personal vehicle a car – for she had ridden the street cars and they never parked at your home! That was by German Grandmother.

There are so many sayings from my parents and grandparents. They randomly surface, but wow, I wish now I had realized how unique those sayings were and had written them down. Every family seems to have some sayings that others are unfamiliar with.

I remember when we were planning to go to Ireland and I bought a little book about the language. As I read through it I was amazed how many of those phrases we used in my family of origin. My Great Grandmother was Irish and I never knew her, but her language come down through the generations.

Saying someone was old was expressed as ‘no spring chicken.’ To express humidity my mother (along with the Irish) would often said ‘It is close.”If your left hand itches you’re about to receive money. “Pull up the covers” means bedclothes. The colander is a strainer. Growing up I never knew a housecoat was a dressing-gown!

And then there was the refrigerator that Mom always called an “ice box.” When I slip and use that term my granddaughters look at me with wonder, not understanding the term at all! See photo below if you do not know what I am talking about.

Hoping this stirred some fond verbal memories from your childhood, too!

Author: Molly Lin Dutina

Now passed 48 years as wife to Bob! Still deeply loving that man!! He is often responsible for the photos I post.

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