"Y'all know I love nature and all, but there's a wicked loud bird outside who only knows four notes in the same order."
I tweeted that this morning.
And then I looked at it and thought to myself, "Lo, you put y'all and wicked in the same sentence."
My mom told a story once about how she was visiting friends in Ohio and their neighbor was visiting as well. After some polite conversation, the obviously studied man asked my mother what town in southern Bucks County, Pennsylvania, she was from. She probably sputtered out her drink that a perfect stranger in the days before google was a verb could pinpoint her origin so specifically. See, she was precisely from southern Bucks County, Pennsylvania, born and bred.
Apparently this gentleman was a linguist and the southeastern Pennsylvania dialect is a noticeable and memorable one. We didn't know this of course— too busy were we making fun of the accents on the Beverly Hillbillies and To Kill a Mockingbird, to notice that we ended sentences with prepositions and every O was formed with perfectly round Marilyn Monroe lips, drawn and quartered into a song of its own.
When I moved to New York the word wicked became an intensifier instead of an adjective, as in "This mountain is wicked high" and "Those trees are wicked colorful." I also learned that prepositions with no determiner attached to them were lazy, "Finish your sentence!" my friends would say. Others pointed out that my Ls were swallowed, that I said "saut" instead of "salt" and "faught" instead of "fault." So while I was unlearning how to swallow my Ls, I learned to enunciate and elongate my NGs, as in "eloNGate."
This mostly happened without my noticing.
A few years later I moved to Tennessee and slipped y'all into my vernacular. I also flattened my perfectly round Os into a more acceptable singsongy sort. Others still pointed out that my Ls were swallowed.
Yesterday my mom posted a photo to Facebook of two pages in her address book (I think it's cute that she still uses an address book because it seems that the rest of us have forgotten that most people still have physical addresses where they can be sent actual mail (which she also does a standup job of (see, there I go with my prepositions again.).).).
It was the F page. Ferguson. There are eight siblings, but only four of us spanned these two pages. Residences represented were New York, South Carolina, Texas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Iraq, Afghanistan, and also our native Pennsylvania. My address had been scribbled out five times. From the addresses contained it would seem that she's only had this specific book about six years.
I have moved more than twice that in the past six years. I have had ten addresses. Ten homes. No wonder my tongue is tied. No wonder even my mouth doesn't even know its home. I haven't even been in some of those places long enough to change my address.
I've been on Meadow Lane for 18 months now. Two different houses, but the same street. I consider this a mild success.
Texans consider that I say "y'all" now a grand success. But as for me, I will still slip "wicked" into casual conversation (to piss off the evangelicals) and pass the saut when you ask for the salt, and occasionally attach a perfectly fine sentence with a preposition onto.
(All my Bucks County friends can read that last part without any trouble. In fact, they're probably still wondering what's wrong with it.)
How many times have you moved? What lasting effect has this had on you?