Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Family Language

This is being written for the 54th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy

The Family Language...Does your family use words and phrases that no one else knows or understands? Where did they come from? Did you ever try to explain your "family language" to outsiders? Tell a story about your family-coined words, phrases, or nicknames.

I'm not aware of any distinctly family-coined words or phrases. I've blogged previously about how I discovered the origins of why my great-grandmother referred to her father as, "Moshe Leyb, The King," at a most unlikely spot - his grave. Moshe Leyb Kruvant's initials spelled the Hebrew word, King. He spelled his surname with a "C" though, so I didn't notice this until I saw his tombstone carved entirely in Hebrew.

However, the Notaricon code is not unique to my family, though it has been passed down the generations as my parents have exchanged notes written with just the first initial of each word, as did my paternal grandparents, my paternal grandfather being the son of the great-grandmother mentioned in the previous paragraph.

Recently, as I've read old family letters I have come across a twist of this question - words and phrases in letters that I don't understand.

My great-grandfather addressed his daughter, my maternal grandmother, as Machen. Through the help of several readers back in March I decided that was a misspelling of the German, Madchen, meaning "little girl." My grandmother was his youngest child, and it's not unusual for the youngest to be referenced in a diminutive fashion forever. As a youngest child, I speak from experience.

However, I'd appreciate some help interpreting the final words from the last letter my maternal grandmother received from her father's second wife, Josie - in November of 1927. Josie may have sent letters after this one, but they didn't survive, or haven't been uncovered.

Cherry and Jerry still suck the hose?

I don't know who or what Cherry and Jerry were, but the possibility occurs that they were two pets (or two farm animals) that might have enjoyed getting their water from a water hose.

Any other ideas?

1 comment:

Becky Wiseman said...

Sure looks like "suck the hose" to me! Since just Pa Pa and Josie are left at home to do the work, I think you're right in assuming Cherry and Jerry are non-human critters of some kind. Hope you'll keep us updated if you learn more about them. Good luck!