Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

More on family sayings

I mentioned in a previous post (maybe it was on the Fat Lady BLOG) that I'm reading books about the Amish (historical fiction) and am really enjoying them. I have really enjoyed a series that takes place in Lancaster, PA.

My dad's family started out many, many years ago in the Lancaster area and I'm finding that a lot of the sayings I grew up with are in these books I'm reading. I didn't realize that my father knew so much of the Dieutch and that the words were part of his heritage. In fact, except for a cousin of my fathers who lived in Reading, PA, whom his cousin Alberta talked about when she visited us, I didn't even think about having an Amish background. I still don't know whether daddy's family was at one time Amish, but the language that would slip out at times was definitely from the Amish.

The latest words that I recalled because I read them are dummkopff and himmell. dummkopff means dummy or stupid, and you would never call someone that, but you would refer to yourself as a dummkopff if you did something stupid. Himmell was a way of saying "Oh my goodness" -- "Himmell" also being translated God.

Dad didn't use those words often, but they came out occasionally and I picked them up and used them once in a while as well.

Another word that was used several times in the last book I read was "dotage." I realize I am now in my "dotage" and am not liking it too much (nor did the character in the book, with whom I was relating).

Added Feb. 7: I also read in one of the books that a common prayer said at the table was: "Come, Lord Jesus, and be our guest, and let this food to us be blessed. Amen." Guess what? That was one of dad's favorites -- when he was hungry.


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