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Mom Expressions

My Mom was born on November 20th more than 100 years ago. She’s gone now, but I think of her often. The sweetest lady you could ever meet. Let me tell you about some of her favorite expressions.


“He’s very down to Earth.” Mom reserved this description for people who had a view of reality that was similar to her’s. Pragmatic, not dreamy. People who might have already been knocked about by fate. People who resisted the temptation to believe that they were more important and more entitled than others. Sadly, the very fact that she had to use this expression meant that she frequently met people “with their head in the clouds” or people who “were putting on airs.” She always preferred to spend time with folks who “had their feet on the ground.”


“She is a pill.” This expression was reserved for any person Mom believed was difficult to satisfy or a steady source of irritation. People who are hard to swallow. Avoiding them and their unending complaints is an excellent strategy. But when you cannot escape “a pill,” you take it without complaint and move on.


“He needs to get his head on straight.” This expression referred to someone who was confused, discombobulated, or addled. There are many causes of this kind of confusion. For Mom, all of them should be avoided. The notion of intentionally using drugs or alcohol was insane because it is always an advantage to have one’s head on straight. 

Tip: In Mom’s world, a good cup of coffee was often a perfect way to help get one’s head on straight. That’s my belief too.


“Help me redd up the house.” In many parts of Pennsylvania, residents know that “redd up” means to clean or clear up a mess—to make things tidy. This expression comes from “redden” a Middle English verb meaning to clear an area or make it tidy. The term arrived in Pennsylvania with the early Scottish settlers and stuck. Mom grew up in Coatesville and Lancaster, so she would have heard this expression constantly. It stuck.

I live in Pittsburgh and still hear this expression frequently. It always reminds me of Mom.


“Whatever blows your hair back.” This was a phrase that Mom used to acknowledge that people are diverse and their preferences are correspondingly diverse. She preferred pinochle, sauerkraut, and classic fashions. Other people might prefer solitaire, hot peppers, and loud neckties. “Whatever blows your hair back.”

Although she was expressing characteristic tolerance of the preferences of others, there was also, in this expression, an indication that the choices of others baffled her—a tiny hint that the tastes of others were bizarre, incorrect, and impossible to justify.  

I find that I carry this view myself. Like Mom, I believe that all other people are entitled to their own notions—no matter how foolish, pathetic, and ridiculous they are. She didn’t start using this expression until she was 80. Of course, by the time one is an octogenarian, you have seen an awful lot of foolish, pathetic, and ridiculous notions.

Can you recall any expressions that you link with your parents?

Pittsburgh, November 1, 2018

92 Responses

Beth Goodwin

May 16, 2022

From my Downeast Maine mom. Never swore. Did notice that when folks had lots to do in a short time they’d be ‘Flying around like a faht in a skillet’.

Thanks for everyone’s posts. Be fun to see Don’s illustrated interpretations.


May 16, 2022

In answer to Mo. LAYROLLS (LAYOVER) TO CATCH MEDDLERS –"A layover is a trap for bears or other unwary animals, made of a pit covered with boughs. And a meddler, of course, is a person who interferes in other people’s business. The phrase was recorded in Eastern and Southern states as long ago as 1890. It also appears as larovers for meddlers, layos to catch meddlers and even as a single word, larofamedlers." From the “Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins” by William and Mary Morris.


May 16, 2022

My father-in-law used to shrug and say “six of one, half dozen of another” to express apathy when faced with two unappealing choices.

He also used to say “God never gave anyone a nose they couldn’t fit their pinky into”, which meant we shouldn’t worry about whether or not we could do something because God had it all taken care of already. : )

Bunnie H.

May 16, 2022

My dad would always say, “A fox smells his own hole first”, which meant that whatever you were accusing someone else of doing was already in your head first. I don’t know how to explain it any better but it was never a kind statement about someone.


May 16, 2022

When my mom would, say, draw a lucky card in a game, she’d exclaim, “Hot Dog!” (grew up in rural Maryland in 1930s)

Mary Wieland

May 16, 2022

My mom was born in 1921, in NYC, as a child of Greek immigrants. She died in 1985, just as I finished nursing school. She didn’t curse often but I remember the phrase “You don’t shit where you eat”. This was her way of saying that you shouldn’t mix business with pleasure, know when you have a good thing & don’t mess it up. I also remember “it’s like digging holes in water”, which meant you worked hard but didn’t see fruits of your labor. I miss her terribly. Thanks for sharing this great mom-wisdom!


May 09, 2022

My husband’s grandmother, Mabel, b. 1891, on a farm in Ontario, Canada used to say:
“He’s tighter than a bull’s a$$ at fly time” [someone cheap]
“A blind man on a fast horse wouldn’t notice” [don’t worry about how you look]
“Let’s go out for a clean bite” [going to a restaurant]
His other grandmother, Katherine, b. 1882, in India during the British Raj, would call rancid oil or butter “reesty”. This was apparently a corruption of a Hindi word that she learned as a young girl and used even after she moved to Canada.

Jane Wiley

May 09, 2022

Mom was born in 1921, and would sometimes tell me, “If you can’t be good, be careful”. I think this was an excellent piece of New York style advice!


May 09, 2022

My mom had SO many sayings which I totally enjoy telling . . . well . . . anyone who will listen (but mostly my family). “We’re off like a herd of turtles,” was a favorite in our family with 5 kids. She was from Worcester, MA, but I’ve learned that lots of her sayings are ones my Southern friends grew up with. No clue how that happened!

Maureen Metcalfe

May 08, 2022

My northeastern Pennsylvania grandmother gifted our family with “redd” for tidying things up when I grew up in Pittsburgh. I don’t think I’ve met any non-native PA folk in Tucson who have a clue what it means. BTW, I was taught the origin was PA Dutch/German—Middle English sounds logical, too! From Mom— “Oh, pull in your (bottom) lip, or you’re gonna step on it” for a pouting child.

Barbara Larson

May 08, 2022

My mom always used the phrase “oh, for cryin’ in the beer” instead of swearing. She was from Minnesota – always makes me smile remembering this.

Bob Eames

May 08, 2022

My mother-in-law is well into her nineties and still fiercely independent and sharp as a tack. When seeing a new fashion or the latest colors or something new and creative she famously pauses and says “I suppose some people might like that” which means she clearly doesn’t but also does not want to be completely dismissive or judging something to be ridiculous or worse yet, a total fashion faux pas. Even in her nineties, she’s still a very sharp dresser and is always very well put together. Since my own mom has now been gone for several years, she’s the one that gets all the attention and affection even though memories of my own mom are always present.

Michelle M

May 08, 2022

Forgot one in the list I submitted,;Mom used to say, “Go play outside, blow the stink off!” Pretty sure she meant our stinky attitudes would be improved by burning off some energy outside.

Michelle M

May 08, 2022

My Auntie would tell people to mind their business by saying, “Go sweep your own front porch.” Also; who hasn’t heard, “How do you like them apples?” There was a slightly more pithy way of saying that too, “Tough titty said the kitty, but the milks still good.,” meaning “Too bad, stop whining, you’re fine,” usually shortened to just “tough titty.” My best friend says, “You’ll get glad in the same pants you’re mad in.” That cracked me up completely the first time I heard it and still does. Good times, even if we didn’t always appreciate it back then.


May 08, 2022

My mom would say, “we’re gonna do it up brown”, meaning going all out for something. And she was known for, “I’m all stove up” when her body was aching.
The funniest one is “stone gullion” describing a gentleman having sexual frustration or unfulfillment. My sweet mom was a funny lady! Miss her so


May 08, 2022

“Do you feel it coming?” “He’d starve to death with a ham on his back.” “Fall in!” “Keep your eyes peeled for deer” “Tap ‘er light”. “Don’t take any wooden nickels”.


May 08, 2022

My grandmother used the expression “and that will run like tickety-boo”, meaning the plan would go off like clockwork. When my college roommate heard the phrase from one of her Canadian professors she couldn’t stop saying it, and remarking on how hilarious us Canadians are.


May 08, 2022

My mother grew up in Louisiana, to Texan parents. She would exclaim, after not finding a sought object, that she had looked “all over hell and creation”. If one of us kids said or did something mildly unacceptable, she would exclaim, “I don’t THINK so!” Like others on this marvelous thread, she would sometimes remark about someone who appeared to be living an unhealthy lifestyle, that s/he “looks like s/he’s been rode hard and put up wet.” Great fun reading everyone’s responses.

Ciindy Lunsford

May 08, 2022

My grandmother used to say “it’ll all come out in the warsh (Pittsburghese for wash)” which meant no matter what happened, it’ll all work itself out. I used to think she was nuts saying that all the time and now I find myself saying it more and more… ❤️


May 08, 2022

When I was little, and wanted to know what something my mom or grandma were hiding or talking about, and it was a secret (at least from me) they would say

Lay overs to catch meddlers, and you’re the first one caught!

A few years ago I asked my mom where that expression came from…or even means, and she had no idea.

elaine lane

May 08, 2022

My gram and dad had these: epizoodic meant a sickness, tighter than a well diggers butt was stingy, cackle berries were eggs and moo juice milk, a phizzic would help a sore tummy, and a bread and milk poultice fixed everything else:)


May 08, 2022

from my mom born in indiana in 1908.
she doesn’t know her head from a hole in the ground.
might as well talk to a fence post.
goodness gracious mercy agnes
he’s got his balls twisted
she’s nervous as a long tail cat in a room full of rocking chairs
he’s sitting in the cat bird seat


May 08, 2022

My mother was a professional dressmaker, born in 1896, so these days, she has set up shop elsewhere. The family sat together for dinner each night & the meals were substantial & nutritious if not always to my particular childish liking. When I did not want to finish my meal, my mother would say to me “Clean up your plate. There are children starving in China!” This always confused me. If I did as she instructed & finished my meal, wouldn’t the children in China still be starving? Or, if I didn’t clean up my plate, would my mother package up my remaining food & send it to China for the starving children? It seemed to me it would be better NOT to clean up my plate! Daddy had a different approach & it had absolutely nothing to do w/ other children in other parts of the world.

Debra Crosby

May 08, 2022

My mother used to say, “I’ll get this done if it hairlips Margaret Truman!” No idea where that came from! She also used the word “traipse” a lot. Love that word. “Just drink out of the hose! I don’t want you kids traipsing around on my clean floors!”


May 08, 2022

My mom is 96 and she has always used the phrase “Well I’ll be a blue nosed gopher!” to express her astonishment at whatever the circumstance is that seems baffling. Lol
Another old phrase of hers is: “That’s enough food to feed Coxey’s army!”
Wanna know more about Coxey’s army? Look here:’s_Army

Peter Laundy

May 08, 2022

When my mom was in need of a restroom for #1 she would say “My back teeth are floating.” Yuck!

Mary Jane

May 08, 2022

When my stepmother got a new outfit or handbag, to show it off, she would walk into the room we were in, pose with a hand in the air and say “anyone seen pa’s cow?”

Martha L

May 08, 2022

My grandmother, a Norwegian immigrant, would respond to any complaint, “The Lord suffered more upon the cross.”

My mother, having learned English as a second language, was a grammar freak. If you asked for a hot cup of coffee, she would run hot water into the cup to heat it up, and then put cold coffee into it. In her house, you had better ask for a cup of hot coffee.

My mother would also tell me to “skedaddle” if she wanted me to get out from underfoot.


May 08, 2022

My dad was a very patient man and would encourage us to be the same by saying something solemn like “this too shall pass.” But I liked his less formal and more often heard “don’t fuss it!“

Patti Keller

April 04, 2019

I was blessed to have my mom around until last year. Born in 1917, the closest she would get to cursing was using the expression “hell’s bells.” I’m attempting to revive it .


March 25, 2019

My dad carried an eighty pound radio for the 181 Artillary in WWll and also learned to survey since they would set the Howitzers precisely. If one of us was standing between him and the TV he would say " line of sight!" because that’s what they’d say if someone was standing between the surveying instrument and the elevation marker stick.

Early in the morning he would wake me up with “can you roll out?” if he needed help on the ranch. I think it was a bunk house or cow puncher term from sleeping on the ground in a bedroll.

He was a “hell of a hand.” Miss him.


February 20, 2019

“If it was a snake, it woulda bit ya,” (when you are searching for something that is right in front of you) and “You’d forget your head if it wasn’t screwed on” (for whatever crime of omission had just occurred).


December 17, 2018

My grandma used to say, “I feel like the last rose of summer hit by a brick” when she was tired. And “September morn” when one of the great grand babies was running around naked after a bath. My husband discovered that it was the name of a scandalous painting of a nude woman shown in NYC in 1911.

My dad had so many . . . “Pain in the grommet “ for pain in the $&@. When things were easy he’d say, “chicken pie!”. And when he wanted a favor he’d say, “get me a cup of coffee – since I’ve given you the gift of life”.

Alicia Diehl

December 12, 2018

“They don’t call this cold in Quebec” (Quit complaining)
“Chop Chop!” (Hurry up)
“And then his hat blew off” It seems that in some ancient conversations amongst the adults, someone (my Grandpa?) would realize there were children present, and the story was getting inappropriate, so they would end the story prematurely with this statement.
My hubby’s family had one similar to one above, but: “Busier than a one-armed paper-hanger with an itch!” The itch makes it a little better :D


December 07, 2018

I used to work in Wyoming and one of my (native) co-workers was always using expressions he learned from his mom, a pioneer.

- “I’m so hungry I could eat the north end of a skunk walking south.”
- “I’m as nervous as a sinner in church.” (Depending on the audience, there was also an alternative version.)
- “You look like you was rode hard and put away wet.”

My own mother was a big Laurel and Hardy fan, so of course:
“Here’s another fine mess…”

Paula Cohen-Martin

November 29, 2018

My grandmother arrived in the US in 1913, at age 13. She travelled in steerage from the Ukraine, left in charge of her younger sisters, ages 10 and 5. She became a Union organizer and a shop owner. She read voraciously. But despite learning to master the English language she still had some “Greenhorn Speak” as I loved to call it. My favorite was when she would ask us to “make the light” which meant to turn on the lamp. She also pronounced many things as she read them When pointing to her cousin in the photograph she described her as “deef” rather than “deaf”.

Patty DeMaria

November 25, 2018

My grandmother’s expression of surprise was “Goodness gracious godness Agnes!” or “Heavens to Murgatroyd!” To my mom we were all “You wretched children” which we understood as a term of endearment. We could “spit in one hand and wish in the other and see which filled up first” when we were longing for something.

Alexandra Ward

November 22, 2018

Oh my, these are hilarious! My favorite retort was from my Grandmother from Olympia, Washington. If you admired something such as a car, she would say, " Too bad it’s tainted. Taint yours, taint mine." Still cracks me up!


November 21, 2018

My mom (also born 1918) never said anything straight or simply. It was “dark as a stack of black cats” outside, or a high quality thing was “all wool and a yard wide”. If you had to get up early, you were “getting up before breakfast”. No one was merely stingy, they were " so tight they squeaked", or held onto a nickle “so hard you could hear it squeal”. If someone got into a bad situation but things ended up OK, they “came out smelling like a rose”. She’d exclaim “My cow!”, and also, in case of something gone seriously wrong, “Balls on a goose!”. And so many more—she was a character! Wonder what my kids will remember about my little oddities, which are, of course, perfectly normal and sensible.

Janet Mills

November 21, 2018

I’m really enjoying these expressions, particularly seeing which ones folks in different parts of the US have in common with us in the Canadian Maritimes. My mom was borne in 1918 and had a variety of good ones, but my favourite was an original which my cousin first uttered when he was a boy. He and his little brother were out and about one day and the younger chap peed his pants. He was so embarrassed he began to cry, and that was when his older brother told him to “Never mind. It will all dry up when the sun comes out.” Mom used it as an expression until she passed in her mid-90s.


November 15, 2018

My favorite saying of all time was one used by my Grandmother from Alabama. When she was feeling lazy (not often), she would say, “I haven’t done a bus-eyed thing all day.” What the heck is a “bus-eye”? Or is it Buseye? I dunno, but I always laughed when she said it.

Gary Jackson

November 15, 2018

Similar to the one legged man, my mother (at 96) says “busier than a one armed wallpaper hanger”.
Another one when we were getting unruly would be, “don’t get rumpacasideous” (rump-a-ca-sid-e-us) which I think was a made up a word but it sounded like how we were acting at the moment.


November 12, 2018

My favorite one my grandmother used to say “It’ll all come out in the wash” meaning, don’t worry about it…it’ll work itself out. I didn’t understand it much when I was little, but use it ALL the time now!

My mom would always say “be home before the street lights come on”…another one that kids today wouldn’t understand.

Thanks for sharing your mom with us, she sounds like she was a wonderful woman. I can see that your wit and demeanor comes from her.

Alexandra Aldrich

November 09, 2018

In response to whatever any child was ever whinging about:
“Worse things happen at sea.”

Emily Miller

November 08, 2018

Mom expressions in our house….
Good Grief Charlie Brown

Oh For Pete’s sake

The Cartwright’s mount up! This was when we were about to go somewhere…with 5 kids spread over 13 years it was always a feat…it came from the fact that on the first day of filming Bonanza the first line in the script was ‘the Cartwright’s mount up’ turns out none of them knew how to ride….

Ginger Peachy Keen….something particularly good and nifty. Sometimes shortened to GPK

I miss my mom.


November 04, 2018

I grew up in the suburbs near Philly. Dad would compliment a job well done with, “My man, pots and pans!”

If we kids wouldn’t stop going on about some imagined slight, Mom would tell us, “Oh, dry up!”

Any word uttered by a child that was deemed to be a fancy, learned, adult word was “a fifty cent word.”

And if the adult word was unfit for company, we would be reprimanded, “Watch your mouth!” At this, being a smartass, I would cross my eyes and look down.

“What are you doing?” my mother asked.

“Watching my mouth!” I would reply.


November 04, 2018

We had to redd up the table for supper.

And no one knew what that was outside or our house in Ohio.


November 03, 2018

Are you familiar with the saying, “6 of one, half a dozen of the other?”
A friend’s mother-in-law says, “Six and a half dozen of one or the other.”
No amount of patient explanation can convince her that these two phrases do not mean the same thing.


November 03, 2018

My mom had SO many marvelous sayings it’s hard to choose just a few. One of my favorites has always been, “All her taste is in her mouth,” used to describe someone who has no taste in any other area.
“Aging is not for the faint of heart,” is another favorite. Predictably, I appreciate this one more and more as time goes by.


November 03, 2018

You gave me a blast from the past. I grew up being sent to redd up my room. It was well after college that I figured out no one knew what the heck I was doing to redd up my room.


November 03, 2018

You gave me a blast from the past. I grew up being sent to redd up my room. It was well after college that I figured out no one knew what the heck I was doing to redd up my room.


November 03, 2018

My Momo (grandma) of TX-Czech descent called a suspicious looking character a “Judas” … irksome people were “chicken-shit SOB’s.” Makes me smile!


November 03, 2018

I was always being threatened with “I’m going to jerk a knot in your tail” or she was going to “tan my hide” when I was “on her last nerve”. If someone was drunk they were “three sheets to the wind”. This would be North Carolina, by the by.


November 03, 2018

I was always being threatened with “I’m going to jerk a knot in your tail” or she was going to “tan my hide” when I was “on her last nerve”. If someone was drunk they were “three sheets to the wind”. This would be North Carolina, by the by.

Hiram Wells

November 03, 2018

My Dad was a pilot in WW2 and would often tell me to “straighten up and fly right!”
He was also a sailor and when my room needed cleaning I was told to “Stow your gear” And to get my room “ship shape”
When he was startled by a loud noise he liked to shout "Shoot him in the pants! The vest and coat are mine!


November 02, 2018

When my brother and I set the haystack on fire Christmas Eve day, my mom said “you cooked your goose” and “you made your bed, now you have to lay in it”.
I was worried that I wouldn’t get anything from Santa that night. Santa stopped.


November 02, 2018

My mom used to say, “Cheese my beads!!!”, I assume to avoid swearing in front of the kids. One I find useful to this day is, “This too shall pass,” along with its equivalent, “In 100 years, no one will remember.” (Very like Julie’s “You’ll never see them again.”)

Another of my favorites is, when she couldn’t find something, “Wo ist mine unterhosen?” (She studied a little German in college.) She would continue, “In der washer.” Still makes me smile.

Thanks for starting this conversation! Your illustrations of your mom’s bon mots are wonderful, if a bit disturbing.

Shirley Clute

November 02, 2018

“Busy as a one legged man at a butt kicking contest” has always been one of my personal faves from my childhood.

Amy Snyder

November 02, 2018

“I’m serious as a heart attack!”
“A stranger should be a little strange.”
“It doesn’t amount to a bucket of warm spit.”
“You kiss your mother with that mouth?”
“With that and 50 cents I could take the subway!”
"I wouldn’t trust_________(name of your friend) as far as I could
throw_______(name of your other friend)!

David Lewis

November 02, 2018

When it was raining: “you’re not sugar; you won’t melt!” The word in Yiddish for someone whose head is in the clouds is Luftmensch, literally Air-man, and the standard definition is, “someone whose name, if half the things he says about himself were true, would be a household word, and it isn’t.”


November 02, 2018

Great drawings and an opportunity to remember our loved ones. We shared the “don’t be a pill” saying. Here are some from my childhood in New England: “Now we’re cooking with gas!” – for something exciting and new. “Winner winner chicken dinner!” – for any little victory. “The pickle in the middle and the mustard on top” (from the Jack Benny show) for getting something just the way you want it.


November 02, 2018

From my Kentucky raised mom the one I remember best is “She looks like she was rode hard and put away wet.”

Stephen Schiller

November 02, 2018

Hi Don, what expression did your mom use when referring to you in particular? Based on your drawings I am thinking you couldn’t have been the most normal kid on the block.

Anyway, my favorite mom expression is “if you break your leg, don’t come running to me”. In other words: “I told you not to do that, and you keep doing it you are on your own.” But that’s not as funny.

My dad who was a very California kind of guy would say stuff like “don’t forget to count your chews” when we sat down to eat. This being a questionable intervention to help one not bolt one’s food, and even meditate on the goodness of it. A few minutes later my brother would look at me with a straight face and say “don’t forget to count your shoes”.


November 02, 2018

Thanks for sharing your Mom and your drawings!
My Dad’s guidance for accomplishing anything was “NO excuses”.
I was grown up before I realized I could use that for enjoyable things, too!

David E. Johnson

November 02, 2018

“So, I just added a quart of water and percolated right on down the road.” My Mom used this saying she received from her Mom concerning an action to be taken after a set back of some sort. I’m assuming this came from the early teens or twenties in the days of Model “T” or Model “A” Ford cars and trucks.


November 02, 2018

“This family doesn’t make ugly nor stupid, so you’d knock it off and ask your sibling’s forgiveness”.
“If you were sorry you’d quit it”
“I’ll be dipped” I honestly suspect the part she kept to herself was “in sh!t”.

I’ll use “Jesus, God, and all the little fishes” and when mine get mouthy, I’ll ask “do you want to try saying that again?”


November 02, 2018

“Some people would complain if you hung ’em with a new rope!”
Mother was from SE Ohio.


November 02, 2018

Tough German mother: “where there’s a will, there’s a way!” And, “whatever doesn’t kill you will make you stronger.” And one that I think she got from Ben Franklin: “a job worth doing is worth doing well,” which was usually introduced to let us know we were screening up. And finally, “give ‘em a finger and they’ll take the whole hand.”


November 02, 2018

Great story!

My mom had a few unique sayings that I miss these days:
Auch du Lieben Gut! [German: Oh for the love of God!] – for when we were being especially trying.

Fix your face – for when we were making faces, rolling our eyes or giving very inappropriate looks toward others.

I’m gonna snatch you baldheaded – for when we were being very bad and needed to be brought in line.

Sometimes these were combined into:
Auch du Lieben Gut! You better fix your face or I’m gonna snatch you baldheaded!!!

We had 5 very rambunctious kids in my family, so my mom was on top of our behavior quickly if we started to get out of hand.

Not my mom’s sayings, but awesome indeed: “Throw your mother down the stairs her purse.” A family friend yelled this up the stairs to his kids when he wanted them to find their mom’s purse (that was somewhere upstairs) and throw it down to her.

Love your story – your mom sounds amazing!

Edith Biggerstaff Seward

November 02, 2018

I Live by the rule “There’s more than one way to skin a cat”. Called thinking outside the box nowadays.


November 02, 2018

“Don’t worry, you’ll never see these people again.”

For use in any public circumstance that is mortally embarrassing. And it is true. Most stupid stuff I do, like falling down, spilling, etc. is witnessed by people I never see again. And if you do see them again, you’ll have something to talk about. lol.

Vanessa B

November 02, 2018

My mom says, “she’s a corker!” (Or “he’s a corker) about someone who gets into trouble or causes undue mischief.

She also called someone who is constantly taking a contrary view a “contrary Woodrow,” based on an old book she used to read us as kids.

Debra Cole

November 02, 2018

“It takes two to tango.”


November 02, 2018

My mother was full of weird expressions. My favorite is “It’s a criminal crime” which we could say a lot nowadays. Also, “crimanetics” (for whatever reason she liked the word crime, I guess). Hell’s Bells when I was younger. When she became elderly she had a bunch of them—“Ach du lieber!” (although she was not German, but lived in a PA Dutch area) “Heavens!” and frequently wrote on gift tags “merry merry” or “happy happy.”
My favorite of my dad’s, also applicable often today was “You’re right, the rest of the world’s wrong.”

Susan Lubell

November 02, 2018

My mom was big on people being pills. But classic mom would be “if everybody else jumps off the Brooklyn Bridge are you going to jump off too?” In response to “but everybody else is __-“

Carol Kocian

November 02, 2018

To my Pittsburgh grandma, a nosy person was a nebby nose or a neb-sh*t.

If asked to do one more thing, my mom might also ask if I had a soft-handled broom.


November 02, 2018

My mom used to say some of these too. But also: I was “the cow’s tail” if I was the last one to get up in the morning. To shut me down if I was pestering her with questions about things that might happen, she would respond with “Well, that’d just be what if.” When I lost interest in something after awhile, she would say that “the new must have worn off”. And if I got up in the morning looking disheveled, she would say: “You look like you slept HARD!” I miss her everyday.


November 02, 2018

My Dad used to say “Dumber than a box of rocks”.


November 02, 2018

My mom would use expressions that my grandmother had used. So if someone commented on an odd coupling (people who didn’t seem to match up) they would say “every pot has its lid”. If we wanted something but were being ornery they would say “mean never got you anything”.
And when mom taught home ec. she would tell her students “eat your greens, they’ll keep you regular.”


November 02, 2018

“Don’t believe anything you read, and only half of what you see.” Thanks Dad, prepared me for a life in show business.

Jeff Perry

November 02, 2018

Your Mom sounds wonderful, Don. Mine was, too. An expression that my wife’s Mom used is: “Poor children must learn to suffer.” Not a sympathetic bone in her body.


November 02, 2018

My Mom was raised in nearby Youngstown so I wonder if any of these ring a bell.
“Now you’re cookin’ with gas”…as if this wonder of modernization circa mid 1800’s had just made its way to the banks of the Mahoning .
“What do want? Egg in your beer?” This was often said to me when I asked for the purchase of some sugary cereal at the A&P. Very strange thing to say to a 10 year old. It’s like the most disgusting thing I could have imagined. Imagine my shock when, later in life, I would see cartons of eggs on the counter in bars near the auto plants in Hamtramck.

Janeen Wagemans

November 02, 2018

Don’t fall down till you’re shot!


November 02, 2018

“What in the H-E-Double Hockey sticks was that?”; “Mrs. Got Rocks” to refer to a rich woman; and of course, the classic, “Don’t get too big for your britches” when I thought I knew better.


November 02, 2018

If you couldn’t find something, her response was “is it hanging off my arse”? Which meant go look for it yourself and stop following me around because she wasn’t going to look for it. And popular in the catholic neighborhood I grew up in – “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph…..”


November 02, 2018

My mom said: “LIFE…is NOT a BOWL OF ROSES.” :-)


November 02, 2018

Mom used to say “my stars!” when something caught her by surprise. “Irregardless,” with elongated emphasis and a high-pitched voice on the first syllable, was Mom’s answer to other people’s logic. And there was always “cripes,” which still cracks me up, although Dad’s “criminetly” was more ominous. Thanks for your story; your mom sounds like a gem.


November 02, 2018

My birthday is November 20th, too! I loved reading about your mom and here is something mine would say up here in northern Minnesota; she was born in Illinois and I’ve never heard anyone else say it up here.

“It’s colder than Ol’ Billy Hell outside!”


November 02, 2018

From Mom (who was a big believer in physical punishment):
“I’ll smack some sense into you.”
“I’ll knock you into next week if you don’t behave.”
“You two are making enough noise to wake the dead.”

From Grandma:
“You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.”
“You’ll put up with it until you don’t.” (As a lesson in why people put up with silly or abusive behavior from others. No deep conversation about the whys; she saw things as a “you do A or you do B” situation.)


November 02, 2018

“Are you being BOLD?” As a good Anglican Wasp, my mother regarded contrary children as a social sin.


November 02, 2018

“Don’t you get fresh with me!”


November 02, 2018

Don these are so great! Coming as prints? I love these Pretty Little Monsters. Love your stuff….keep going :)

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