Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Family speak

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.  :)


Kimberly said...

I get this. Of course. :)
We can have entire conversations mostly of lines from our favorite movies mixed together to make sense to us.
Usually involves something from Gaskell, Austen or Dickens, but may also contain parts of Pixar movies these days.
How I would love to sit with you listening to that song and enjoying a slice of that cake whilst enjoying a pot of tea together.

Mrs.Rabe said...

Oh yes, what a scene! Though I hate the ending scene of the movie, that was only done for American audiences! Ick!

We have these kinds of fun things in our family, too! I like to say it is part of our family culture - shared experiences bring this kind of special bonding!

Sharon said...

Sigh...I love P&P with Colin Firth...and I well recall that scene.:)Great post Brenda.Blessings~Sharon

Anonymous said...

In our family we are all Star Trek fans so some of our in-jokes come from that show. ie. "Make it so."
Off the subject, please tell your daughter never to drive while talking on her cellphone. More people have crashed doing that,and what if her kids had been in the car too!

Vicki in UT said...

My kids love to intersperse movie quotes in their conversations, and nieces and nephews do that on facebook, also. It creates a bond. doesn't it?

This reminds me of our family's favorite "Li'l Fellers", what we call fried bread dough scones. I always thought that was just what everyone called them, until my grandmother died and I found out the real story. Her mother cooked for railroad workers, and one day she was cooking fried bread dough scones when a worker came in. He said, "Give me one of them li'l fellers", and from then on that was the family name for them. I think of Grandma every time I make them, and my kids love when I make them "Li'l Fellers", too.

Sharon said...

Zathras!!!!! That is definitely one of our "family-isms". We thought we were the only "nerds" who got that!!! We still pop in those Babylon 5 DVD's from time-to-time...we still love them just as much! Thanks for bringing up some fun family life memories.

moreofhim said...

Oh, I love THAT scene in "Pride & Prejudice". Of course, there's so much I do love about that movie. I listen to this music often - especially during my quiet devotion time. It lends itself wonderfully for such a time. I also love the movie, "Sense & Sensibility". The ending gets me every time.

I know I've mentioned this to you before, but I must reiterate. I love to come by your blog just before bed. It quiets my Spirit and makes me remember there are quiet, gentle people (like me) that love the Lord and like many of the same things I do. Thank you for sharing your life - it really does touch mine.

God bless you - Julie

Lallee said...

Oh Brenda, we have so many sayisms in our family! I bet you have no idea that 'back in bowl' said with an Indian accent means for the dogs to come back in the door. It evolved from a movie. I've been labeled a cheater in Scrabble for years by my husband. He still hasn't forgiven me for spelling DUZ and then poker facing him into believing it was a real word. I was desperate to use that Z before the game ended. We've been saying DUZ in conversation and spelling it to make a point ever since. "I DUZ to have to go to the thrift store." Poor grammar is even better in these instances. I could go on and on, but I'd make no sense to anyone outside the family. LOL It really makes for great bonding, doesn't it? It DUZ.

Anonymous said...

Our family has so many favorite words that started with various toddlers. My father loved some of the words the little ones created. If something was too small, it was "too fitty". A zebra will always be a "zuber". Santa Claus continues to be "Ging Gock" The kids are all grown, but the language remains. Now the grand children are creating new favorites!

Trisha said...

So true! "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." I love the truth of this , and all of our children are still at home...what a great way to stay connected as we share the same books, etc. and have such great discussions. But, I like the idea of doing this with my family members who are far away. Thank you!