Who struck Billie Patterson

Wilson Gray hwgray at EARTHLINK.NET
Tue Jun 1 02:38:40 UTC 2004

On May 31, 2004, at 3:32 PM, Jerry Kane wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Jerry Kane <Jerryekane at AOL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: Who struck Billie Patterson
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> --------
> In Los Angeles,  circa 1950, I heard and used the term "Who shot
> John?".
> John's
> imaginary body lay on the floor.
> Jerry E. Kane
> Los Angeles, CA

I've never used this phrase myself, but my mother, born 1914 in
Longview, TX, uses it all the time, but not as used here. She will say
something like, "That gal had the nerve to come to the board meeting
looking like who-shot-john," i.e. inappropriately dressed. In fact, now
that I think about it, my mother uses it _only_ in phrases involving
look/looks/looked, etc. like who-shot-john as a criticism of the way a
person is dressed.

-Wilson Gray

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