Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Southern Mentors, Southern Mothers

Do you know that if a woman chews gum in public she may very well look like a cow chewing her cud? That, my friend, is according to my mom, who was a contributing author of the unwritten Southern Etiquette Book.
Do you know how to sit and how to stand? How about how to hold your hands? No, no, you only THOUGHT you knew that. The old South rule book I refer to is possibly on the verge of extinction and truthfully, that doesn’t make me sad.

When my children were small, I had a neighbor in Tallahassee that decided I was the daughter she’d never had. She told me, “You are a great representative for health, positive thinking and such, but when it comes to make-up, hair and the art of being a lady, I need to teach you a thing or two.”

She literally took me to her hairdresser, went in her closet and pulled clothes that she insisted I wear, and staged a community fundraiser class on “The Art of Being a Lady” and appointed me her assistant. (Uncommon Blonde still rolls her eyes at the memory as she was being homeschooled and I made her go too. Poor child) Seriously, when I look at the photos of me during that period of time it’s not good. She was markedly older than my mom and have you noticed that styles change?

Don’t get me wrong; I loved her and was grateful to have her love. One thing I learned from her is that you can’t be anyone’s mini-me. You have to find your own voice.

When I watch speaker and comedienne Jeanne Robertson, she makes me think I’m watching my mentor’s birth daughter. She was a beauty pageant winner many moons ago and knows all the rules. Granted, my mentor didn’t have a daughter as she was most unusual and focused on her career during her childbearing years (the 1940’s through 1960’s and didn’t marry until she was about 50 years old.)

I’m giving away a DVD of Jeanne telling some of her funny stories. My favorites are her tales of her husband, who she lovingly refers to as “L.B.” (Left-Brain)

I’ll draw a name at the end of the day Friday and post the winner this weekend. All you have to do is leave a comment to enter. If you want to leave an etiquette rule your mom taught you, I want to hear.

Here’s a clip of Jeanne if you’ve never seen her:

P.S. Disclaimer: This DVD case is not in perfect condition. I find getting the wrapping off of CD’s and DVD’s to be particularly irritating, don’t you? I took the scissors to this case and cut a bit more than intended. At least it wasn’t my hand that got in the way!


Reasons said...

Thanks for the laugh! I like the look of her, will seek out more. Have a lovely day. (Have family in Talahassee by the way, love the place).

Mocha with Linda said...

I'll pass on the video, but that cracked me up about the community service!

Fuschia said...

Very cute!
A copy of "A Southern Belle Primer" adorns my dresser ;)

Protege said...

I remember my mother used to have a book on "How to be a lady", everything was in it, even table manners. I so enjoyed reading it.
Loved your recollection of the childhood memories.;)

sonja said...

Just stopped by, and had a good laugh! Community service... love it!

Enjoyed your blog!


Edie said...

LOL! Thanks for the laugh! My grandma taught me that guys wore shirts and girls wore blouses. To this day I think of that every time I hear or say shirt when referring to a female's article of clothing. LOL!

I would LOVE to win this CD!! She is so funny!

sara said...

that was great! My mom gave me Emily Post's book on etiquette when I got engaged...ugh! do you know how thick that book is? I never read it.

Melanie said...

I don't remember any etiquette rules from my mother. But she did teach my how to cook the Southern way.
But my Mamaw would only give me 1/2 a stick of Dentyne gun in church. And she always said, "Don't chew it. Just suck on it until church is over."
Do you know how hard that was? But I didn't dare let Mamaw catch me chewing!
I heard Jeanne Robertson talk about sending her husband, LB, to the store for ingredients to make a cake. Good stuff.

Sassy Granny ... said...

egads ... that brings back a bucket of memories! I attended an all-girls school, and etiquette was HUGE. My mother (who raised four girls), was always fussing with our manners, dress, grammar, etc.

Great fun!

2Thinks said...

This lady is so funny. I saw her once before somewhere on the blogs.

Thanks for thinking of me. I have been out of it for way too long, almost too long to know how to get back. I guess it's as easy as one little post. I'll try to get at it before the end of this week. :)

As for manners. We couldn't put our elbows on the table at mealtime or chew gum in church. We could eat our Sunmaid raisins from the tiny box in church, though, but we had to sit up straight, be still and be very quiet. And I couldn't wear pants to school when I was in first grade. We changed that rule over time.

Merrie said...

LOL... so funny! I do love her!
My mother always told me that ladies do NOT sweat! You may "glisten", but you never sweat! To sweat is uncouth and vulgar! (of course today at almost 90 she says she does not have body odor either!)

The Mom said...

"Pretty is as pretty does." "If you cannot say anything nice, don't say anything at all." When you get up from the table say, "May I please be excused, I enjoyed it very much." Never ever or as Lou Lou would say, "Nevah evah slam the screen door...(it would scare Daddy Dykes." "Always say please and thank you even if you don't like it." "Stand up when your elders come into the room. (not just a rule for men and boys, but a rule for both sexes). Ladies cross their legs at the ankles. This is more attractive and keeps you from getting varicose veins in your thighs and knees. I can hear their voices now as the mantra for good manners flowed from their lips..we ought to compile a book of some of these!

Victoria said...

I laughd till the tears ran down my face. Not only did we get the manners taught us,but the grammer. We were taught,"you must take a bite of everything on your plate", "ladies always sit with their ankles crossed", and my personal favorite - delivered at the top of Mother's voice - "Ladies DON'T SCREEEAAAMM!!"