Thursday, August 6, 2009

Collecting Grandma-isms

OK, so you may know that my husband is a teacher in a Waldorf school. He will be with his class for their final year (8th grade) this coming year. And he uses expressions in the classroom, to show surprise, chagrin, shock, that we might not hear other places except maybe a facility for older folks. Such as: "My Land!" or "Oh my stars!" or even "Oh my stars and whiskers!" Another one, from Hannah: "You bet your sweet bippy!" Jonas made up this one: "By my blazing bloomers!" And while I know that my dear husband is capable of *other* types of expletive language, learned from ghetto rap in his youth (and look how he turned out), I think it's so sweet that he is passing along these quaint turns of phrase.
a tightrope for spiders
I have learned of a new one from my friend Miss Smith lately, which I am hoping we (collectively, in our various corners of the world) can resurrect into popularity: "Toodle pip!" Do you love it?! She says it's mostly used by older New Zealanders and it means "Bye! See you later!"
my A-line skirt as basket
So. Here is the question: Can you share with us any unique Grandma-isms from your neck of the woods? That way I can give them to the Mister to share with his class and we can preserve these bits of our linguistic heritage with the next generation. Please don't be shy!
So check this beaded ribbon out, made especially for me by Robinsunne as a thank you for proofreading her latest book. And see that pattern in blue? Robinsunne used it because it was my doodle, you know the thing you do over and over in high school algebra class, if you aren't very excited by the content of the course, and perhaps also you have terrible basic skills and want to try really hard NOT TO BE NOTICED under any circumstances?
The nifty thing about it is that you can squinch it all together and make neat designs. She also tells me that you can actually cut it, without a bunch of beads flying everywhere. Not being a beader, this seems really miraculous. So you could use it as trim on a bag, or an accent on an ATC. Neat! Also, it elicits a really visceral response from me that makes me want to either rub it on my cheeks and maybe even lick it. Sorry if that's TMI.


  1. In addition to "toodle pip" there is also "cherio" - which means the same thing. My favourite oldism is "good as gold." You wouldn't catch anyone under 60 saying that one.

    Righty ho, back to my sewing. Cherio!

  2. Oh, my Grandma's got some good ones...

    She says "Shake out your tailfeathers" when someone needs to get up and do something.

    She says "Straighten out and fly right" when someone needs to behave (a lot of bird-related sayings, don't you think?)

    And then she has some of the more colorful, New-England-y sayings, like "I fell down the stairs and went ass over tea-kettle..." which I personally LOVE but perhaps would not be appropriate so much at a Waldorf School.

    Anyways, this was fun!

    Can't wait to

    See you tonight!



  3. Oh now this really is fun...I have some more...

    Someone who is is very frugal is described as "short arms, deep pockets" or "gorse in his pockets".

    More exclamations; "Oh my giddy aunt!" "Heavens to Betsy!" or my personal favourite, "Heavens to Murgatroyd!"

    Describing a full cover of something..."from a$sehole to breakfast time". As in "You kids have made such a mess, there's toys from a$sehole to breakfast time!". Yes people really do say that to children and then quickly add not to repeat it at school.

    There's "silly as a two bob watch" or one that Simon's dad says when he's putting odds on something happening "Bet you ten bucks to a knob of goat sh!t".

    More as I think of them...toodleoo! (A variant of toodle pip!)

  4. There is "Gad-zooks!" to be used when one is surprised, and one from my dad (born 1919) used usually when he had to clean up one of our messes: "Lord love a duck" - the phrase being completed with a resigned sigh.

    And I love how you stacked the bead ribbon together to make the diamond pattern!

    Well, ta-ta for now...

  5. According to family lore, my great grandmother, who was of very old New England stock, use to say 'wish in one hand and spit in the other and see which one gets filled the fastest' whenever anyone moaned about wishing this or that or the other thing.

    I like the sound of 'rickumfrassum' and is used as an expletive.

    'Jumping Jehosaphats' is what a grandfather use to exclaim. I found this story of its origin which is quite interesting.

    It was nice seeing all your boys yesterday!


  6. My Grandma uses a ton of different ones, many are common ones that I have heard before.

    "Fore Pete's Sake"

    "Goodness Gracious"

    My Dad always used to say things like:

    "I will beat you like a red headed step child"

    or to my little brother when he picked his nose: "Are you digging for gold up there"

    A classic one about pre-marital sex. "no one wants to buy the cow if they can get the milk for free"

  7. oh my sainted aunt!

  8. Do great-grandparents phrases qualify for the list? A couple well used exclamations were "Jimminy Cricket" and "Son-of-a-gun".

    I just ran across this posting and, although it is an older thread, I wanted you to know how thoroughly enjoyable it was to read it. 'Tis a pleasant and thoughtful web page that brightens the day. A number of exclamations and phrases come to mind which have not yet been added to this list. It is hoped that this comment will pull this thread higher in Google rankings so that more people will be able to contribute their comments.