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Grandmother Wisdom
by Sherry Hill

I enjoy reading the Southen colloquialisms at USADEEPSOUTH.com and want to share my Granny’s wonderful expressions. A beautiful Southern lady, she was born in 1892, died in 1971, and I adored her. Here are some wonderful expressions she said constantly.

About herself:

      • We were so poor we couldn’t buy the echo off a steamship.
      • I danced so hard my feet almost fell off.
      • Around noon I’ll just fix me a dirty bite to eat.
      • I ate so much I was plum P. H. U. L.
      • These garters are too tight.

General advice:
      • Be careful how you hang your clothes on the line; neighbors are watching.
      • Always add a pinch of sugar when cooking vegetables.
      • Right often, take your rugs out and beat the tar out of ‘em.
      • Them that has, gets.

Observations on other women:
      • That gal has a country mouth!
      • She’ll spark on the front porch for all the world to see.
      • A proper lady always carries a handkerchief in her pocketbook.
      • Her mama obviously didn’t teach her not to be eating while walking down the street.
      • Her bangs look like Mamie Eisenhower.
      • She has legs like a piano stool.
      • If she tells you her age, she’ll tell anything.
      • She’s as cheap as a Cracker Jack prize.

Advice to her grandchildren:
      • Now, honey, you’re sick. Doncha get up and fan around.
      • If you cross your eyes, they will very well stay that way.
      • That television is being turned off right now; you are not going to look at that Elvis Presley.
      • Miss Priss, that’s too much rouge.
      • Grandpa’s waiting! Shake a leg.
      • Shut the door on the icebox.
      • Don’t jump on the divan.
      • Never ever chew gum in public.
      • Sit here and help me tally up the laundry.
      • Quit plundering in the buffet drawer!
      • Don’t drink from somebody else’s glass – you’ll get trench mouth.
      • Don’t bang the screen door and don’t let the flies in.
      • You’re my little jellyroll!


Ye Editor says: That’s a terrific list, isn’t it? Robert Hendrickson, author of Whistlin’ Dixie, says that “despite the increased mobility of Americans and the homogenization of speech by television, it doesn’t appear likely that Southern speech will be quietly erased from the American tape, for it is too widespread and deeply rooted in the past.”

Let’s hope he’s right!


Sherry Hill was born and raised in Charleston, West Virginia. She has undergraduate degrees in Education and English and a Master’s degree in Communication. A former elementary teacher and writer, she now writes for local papers and paints. She is hoping to have her own art show in the near future.

Mother of two and grandmother of three, Sherry’s hobbies are genealogy, writing books and stories, painting and drawing, and searching for great online sites. She just finished writing a children's book and, after illustrating it, she plans to have it published. Among her illustrious ancestors are Robert Frost, Emily Dickenson, Louisa May Alcott . . . and the list goes on to the great, the good and the bad. One outstanding ancestor was Tecumpease, Tecumseh's sister.


Read Sherry Hill's LONG list of Southern Expressions: CLICK HERE

And read many great stories listed on our USADS Articles pages.



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