I was chatting with Stephanie on the phone recently and other then the fact she told me she had to stop talking a moment as she was passing a semi on a narrow road (AAAACK!), what I recall was her talking about the text she received from me when I was at the coffee shop on campus.
My text had been that the coffee shop had that cake (although thoughts of my dietitian and my budget prevailed and I only had coffee). Those two words described everything about the cake which was being offered for sale.
When Steph and family last visited, we split that cake at least twice. Oh, yum... just the moistest pound-like cake with mixed berries and mascarpone... but I digress.
One of the fun things that comes out of family life is having a unique vocabulary, for the most part known only to parents and siblings and in-laws and grandchildren and brothers and sisters and aunts and uncles... etc. (perhaps a few close friends).
It is in the shared history as we lived day-to-day that entire pages of conversation and description could come together in one or two words.
In my immediate family, there are many words and sentences which make up the family dictionary... most coming from communal reading, favorite movies, a few television shows, and memories of past experiences. Which is why one word spoken can cause laughter while those without the common history look at us like we are nuts. :)
My sisters Bonnie and Jean were both married by my earliest memories of them but we still have family words, most surrounding our mother (my mother was widowed in her 30s and later married my father... I was a "yours, mine, and ours" baby). Though Jean was born when our mother was in her teens and I came along in her 40s, some things just never changed.
Her Mamaw-isms are famous... or should I say... infamous. Such as, "You cannot go in the water until you learn to swim". Yeah, we never figured that out, either. So, all one of us has to do is say, "Remember when Mom said..." and the age difference disappears. Before the remainder of the sentence is even begun, the other two are laughing.
Which makes me hope those who have gone on cannot hear their children's conversations...
Some family speak is perhaps rather silly as when my husband and I recently heard someone talking about symmetry and we looked at each other and said, "Zathras!"... regarding a favorite character on Babylon 5 whose speech about symmetry had us in tears from laughter.
Even among friends there can be common vocabulary. As newly weds, my husband and I played Scrabble with one of my best friends and her new husband. Hubby won by spelling out the word Yeti. Yvonne, being from a very small town and I not yet having my Bigfoot fetish... did not recognize the word and she challenged him. Well, of course he won but after that evening, all he had to say to her was the word Yeti and he got a response. Onlookers must have wondered...
I hope this new technological age we are in does not prevent the accumulation of common words.... family speak... to be remembered as each child and sibling leaves home. With mp3 players in our ears and individual video available on iPhones... will we spend enough time watching and listening and reading together to form common bonds?
There is something about watching a movie or reading the same book which makes us feel closer even if there are many miles in between. For instance, I wrote Stephanie an e-mail mentioning the new song I downloaded to be the instrumental you first hear on this blog. I told her it was the background music to that scene in the new Pride & Prejudice.
Oh, my fellow Jane-ites... you know which scene of which I talk. The mist at dawn with Mr. Darcy walking toward his beloved Elizabeth. Sigh... that scene. Friends can share common words. :)