[Ads-l] Media Inquiry -- mother

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Sat Feb 4 07:49:27 EST 2017

 Calling one's spouse mother or father was standard when I was growing up in a blue collar neighborhood on the southside of Chicago in the 1940s and 50s. It was common in (but not limited to) the Irish-American community. We lived in an early version of the United Nations -- all kinds of ethnic groups because we were close to a major streetcar line.

It showed up in various situations. (1) It was a prompt to the children, instructing them on how to address parents respectfully -- especially snotty adolescents who tried to go the first-name route. (2) It was an homage to the mother of your children; there was no discretionary cash to show appreciation. (3) And sometimes it was a sly solicitation when the old man wanted some.


Michael J. Sheehan

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