I was born and raised in Southern California.
My family, however, either live in or migrated from the All-American Midwest or Bakersfield (which might technically still qualify for Southern California, but it’s populated with descendants of dust bowl transplants so no, it doesn’t really count in my book). As a result, phrases like “I was aimin’ to” and “wait just a cotton-pickin’ minute” manage to slip out in my conversations from time to time, along with a very thick Mid-Western drawl.
And then there’s the warsh.
I grew up in a household that warshed the dishes and warshed our clothes and warshed our hands before supper. The topic didn’t come up much in school, so it wasn’t something that I necessarily was teased for. (I was awkward enough to be honest so there was plenty of other material for mean kids to work with.) Then one high school drama club car wash fundraiser came along.
We were a gaggle of giggling girls with the job of making posters. Mom, bless her support-the-kids-beyond-all-reason heart, helped. Neither one of us could keep the “r” from rearing its fugly head. The gaggle giggled profusely over warsh and started in the teasing. And then it happened.
I actually wrote “Car Warsh Today” on the blasted sign.
Did I ever mention that I hate high school or its denizens, and to this day, give my alma mater the finger as I drive by? Crass and beneath me, I know, but it really does help me feel better. That, and the knowledge that mean girls have a special level of hell reserved just for them, right next to litterers and cold-callers.
Wash is a word whose pronunciation is still quite elusive for me. I have to concentrate before I say it and so I try to avoid it altogether. Good thing I have a husband who doesn’t mind doing the warshing up, because he teases me incessantly when I slip up. Honestly though, I think he likes the drawl.
*I apologize if my point of view about Bakersfield has offended anyone. If one understood my opinion about Southern California, however, one would see that I consider that a compliment.