Monday, June 6, 2011

Stars and garters

Mama was a lady. She didn't curse. She didn't swear. She didn't even use what she called "by-words". Gosh, golly, darn, dang and shoot were forbidden. "WE" did not use such language. I still try and avoid them but I do slip on a couple of them. She didn't even say "swannee".

When something shocked Mama it was a "My stars!" I have no idea where she got it but it was the closest to a swear word I ever heard her say. Sometimes, she said "My stars and garters." In the newspapers when I was child there was a horoscope, on the comics page usually and it was titled "My Stars and Garters". It is the only other place I ever saw the term.

However, when I Googled it today to write this post in answer to Grammy's question, I found where it came from. And it makes so much sense that she used it. She could have heard the previous generation using it but she read widely and I wouldn't be surprised if she'd run across it somewhere that way. Here is the link:


It shouldn't surprise anyone that the Southern part of the United States, during the 19th century had strong ties in England. Many there supported the "Recent Unpleasantness" and there were cultural exchanges. Manners, phrases, and some habits caught on among gentry who traveled and did business overseas. These filtered down to the lower classes. Those phrase, until Mama died, still popped up now and again among my family. Every once in awhile my British contacts make comments and references that I quite understand because I remember people saying the same or very similar things when I was a child.

Sadly, the people I know who kept using those quaint terms and expressions have all but disappeared from my life. So, occasionally, I trot out some of them. They are all I have left of a wonderful woman.

My stars and garters! Can you believe what you can find on Google!

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