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Notes and Quotes- January 24, 2021

How To Talk ‘Mid-Western Speak

By Tom Morrow

There are distinctly different languages across America: New England, New York, Chicago, the South, Upper-tier states (Minnesota, the Dakotas, etc., Midwestern, Western, and the Pacific Northwest. This doesn’t forget the Islanders of Hawaii, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and the Virgin Islands.

They all -speak English – sort of. Most of our British counsin and what’s left of their empire have a hard time understanding the various colloquialism of the above geographic locations.

The Midwest consists of the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, and the lower parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. In some cases even these individual states have their own way of communicating.

Here’s just a few fractured sayings that outsiders have trouble understanding what is being said. Midwestern speak is an echo of those folks’ strong belief, their values, and their sense of humor.

For example: “Ahm.” Translation: “Ahm thinkin ‘bout runnin fer cidee council next fall.”

Ah-Merkin or just Merkin– “Baseball’s ah-merkin as apple pie.”

Ahrn – “He’s been drivin’ around that piece of ahrn for the past 10 years.”

All-fahred – “Ever yar those folks in Michigan get all-fahred up over the Ohio State football game.”

Choo-Zen-Sox – “He leaves his choo-zen-sox right square in the middle of the rum ever time.”

Hard and Hep – “We had a git a hard-hand to hep in the field.

Doll-Dup – “Elsie got all doll dup before we went out on the town.”

Dope – “The secretaries down at the plant pass along a-lotta good dope every day.”

Drownded – “Last night Jim drownded his problems up at the beer joint.”

Dun-did-it – “He dun-did-it taking round-a-bout most of an hour … more or less.”

Eatcha – “Eatcha supper. There’s plenty of kids in Eurup who’d love to have what’s on yer plate.”

Eye-Aidy – “Eye-Aidy is a real road … ya cross the muddy Mis-er-ee Outta Omeeha, then it’s ah big fer-laner running clean across Ioway east threw Dez-Moans all the way to Dav-port.”

For example: “Ahm.” Translation: “Ahm thinkin ‘bout runnin fer cidy council next fall.”

Ah-Merkin or just Merkin– “Baseball’s ah-merkin as apple pie.”

Ahrn – “He’s been drivin’ around that piece of ahrn for the past 10 years.”

All-fahred – “Ever yar those folks in Michigan get all-fahred up over the Ohio State game.”

Choo-Zen-Sox – “He leaves his choo-zen-sox right square in the middle of the rum ever time.”

Hard and Hep – “We had a git a hard-hand to hep in the field.

Doll-Dup – “Elsie got all doll dup before we went out on the town.”

Dope – “The secretaries down at the plant pass along alota good dope every day.”

Drownded – “Last night Jim drownded his problems at the beer joint.”

Dunnit – “He dun-did-it taking round-a-bout most of an hour … more or less.”

Eatcha – “Eatcha supper. There’s plenty of kids in Eurup who’d love to have what’s on yer plate.”

Eye-Aidy – “Eye-Aidy is a real road … ya cross the muddy Mo. Outta Omeeha, then it’s ah big fer-laner running clean across Ioway east threw Dez-Moans all the way to Dav-port.”

Two of my journalistic moments too good not to re-tell:

 

Comedian Jack Carter

During my 40-plus years in newspapers, television, public relations and advertising, I had the good fortune to encounter many notable people. Here’s is one such encounter I had in 1984, while waiting for a PSA flight out of Lindbergh Field.

(For you youngsters, “PSA” (Pacific Southwest Airline) was our own homegrown (San Diego) airline, which was one of the best anywhere. Sadly, in the mid-80s, East-coast money talked and PSA was swallowed up by a bigger air carrier).

During my wait I realized a very familiar fellow was sitting alongside me. He was frantically searching his pockets for something. I recognized well-known funny man Jack Carter.

“Buddy, can ya spare a dime?” (an old, Depression-era question). Luckily, I did have a dime. (That was price of a public phone call, which shows how long ago it’s been). He walked over to a pay phone and started dialing. When he returned it was time to board the plane.

“C’mon kid, you’re my valet.” Grabbing my arm we headed toward the gate agent. He faked a “limp.” Carter told the agent I was needed to help him aboard. I went along with it – she did too. We followed the women and children, having our choice of seats. We did small talk during the 40-minute flight, but it was one of my unforgettable encounters.

Victor Mature

Carter was a regular comic on the CBS Ed Sullivan variety show. Before that he hosted an early TV variety program, “Cavalcade of Stars” on the old DuMont TV Network. NBC hired him away to host his own program titled “The Jack Carter Show.” He was one of our great Yiddish comics.

In 1979 I had an interview with film idol Victor Mature, who then was retired and a Rancho Santa Fe resident. He recalled an incident while filming “Demetrius and the Gladiators.” During a break Vic and a fellow actor walked across the street from Columbia studios for a quick drink at a nearby pub … still wearing complete Roman centurion battle dress costumes. They walked in, sat down and waited to be served. It was happy hour and no one paid them any notice. Finally, Vic got tired and thirsty from waiting, rose to his feet and said in his familiar loud, husky voice:

“Well, it’s apparent this establishment does not cater to service personnel.”

When the laughter died down, the bartender served a round to the pair of warriors … on the house.

Mature loved to poke fun at himself. He recalled the time he applied to join an L.A. country club, which denied membership to Jews and movie actors. When confronted with the rules, Vic got up and declared in disgust, “Hell, I’m no actor … I have more than 80 movies to prove it!”

More of my life encounters in later columns.

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