What Are They Saying?

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I am currently somewhere between 38 and 42,000 feet in the air, flying between Boston and the left coast. I am coming home from a family wedding and enjoying all the pretzels and apple juice that come along with in-flight food service on this six-hour journey.

It’s always nice to come home to see family in the land of my childhood. If you have ever lived in, or even been to Boston, you know that there is something special about the people in Massachusetts. I lived there for twenty-four years, so I am a bit familiar.

All of my books either take place entirely or spend a good deal of time in the central area of Massachusetts, about 60 miles west of Boston, in the made-up city of Eastboro. So when you read my books, you may encounter some colorful, albeit unfamiliar vocabulary words. I thought I might just introduce some of them now, since they are so fresh in my mind at the moment (and there’s really nothing else to do right now).

When I was a schoolgirl in the ’70s and ’80s, my classmates and I would line up at the bubbler after recess. No, we were not blowing soap bubbles, or washing dishes. The Bubbler is actually the name of a part of something most of us are very familiar with: the water fountain. This is the first word they warn us about when we move out of state. Don’t ask anyone where to find a bubbler; they’ll just look at you funny. And while I’m talking about things that they don’t have in other states, hows about a grindah for dinnah (look it up)?

A lot of words end in -ER. But people in Massachusetts really don’t understand this concept. So if someone asks you over for suppah, take this into account, and say, yes, you will come over for a nice, hot, New England bowl of clam chowdah. But while you’re at their house, you might want to go downstairs to get something out of the deep freezer. You will probably be directed to the cellah. In some states, this is also known as the basement.

Some words are just entirely used wrong or made up. My favorite word is “wicked.” I think kids all over the country were familiar with the term “wicked awesome” back in the ’80s and ’90s, but in Massachusetts, wicked has been frozen in time. It is an all-time favorite adjective of residents of the Bay State. And the phrase that made us famous in beer commercials? “Wicked pissah!” This might seem like a negative phrase, like something that pisses you off or is really bad. But no, the worse the pissah, the more awesome it is! Don’t ask me, I moved away 27 years ago!

But I did go to high school in Central Mass in the mid ’80s. And I do remember some doozies. The ones I’ve only recently been reminded of were “mint,” or “wicked mint,” when referring to how awesome something is. Then there’s “rush,” as in “what a rush!” This refers to a “head rush,” and not the Canadian rock band I loved so much in the ’80s (and saw in concert three times).

Ok, question for you: you are driving in the wrong direction. You took a wrong turn. Now you’re going to be late. You see there are no cars coming toward you on the other side of the road. So what do you do? The answer is obvious! You bang a Uey! That’s only if you’re not coming up on a rotary. Translation: you can take a U-turn, but if you are coming upon a traffic circle, you can go around it instead (make sure to yield to rotary traffic!).

So in conclusion, I just want to tell you that writing this was a wicked pissah, and such a rush. I hope you all won’t be Mass-holes or chowderheads, and you will continue to follow my blog. I gotta go now. I’m taken the T to get some Dunks with jimmies on top cuz that’s what the townies do. But first, I’m gonna go to the packie, cuz it’s gonna be a another scorchah today!

(translation: I have to go. I am going to take the commuter rail to Dunkin Donuts to get a donut with colorful sprinkles on top, because that is something the locals enjoy. I am going to make an earlier stop at the Liquor store to get a refreshing beverage, as it will be very hot outside today.)


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