Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Hussy Legacy...

Growing up, I heard a family story many many times that took place during the Civil War (translated -War Between the States, if you are from the South).

My great-great grandmother who was a very proper Scottish Southern lady was like all women during those times, managing while the menfolk were away fighting in the war.

"Yankee soldiers appeared on the property one morning while she was in the kitchen trying to get the morning meal going (kitchens were housed in a detached building behind the main house). With frying pan in hand, she went around to the front porch to see what business these soldiers had on her property. One of the soldiers called her a 'hussy' and she chased him around the yard with that frying pan and none of the other soldiers dared call her a hussy."

LOL. Would my G-G Grandmother be rolling in her grave now? Probably not. The term doesn't mean the same, but it just struck me this morning how ironic it was. She was offended and I'm flattered.



Julianne said...

During the Civil War, ladies didn't too much have the freedoms we have today. And being called a 'hussy' was bad and insulting. But in todays standards, things are a lot different. A hussy isn't necessarily bad or insulting. Being a hussy now, to me is letting myself be a little naughty but not actually changing who I am.

Sally Painter said...

I find the change of definitions of words proof that our language is truly a living entity.

I can't tell you how many times my family laughed over this story of my little G-G Grandmother chasing this huge soldier around the front lawn.

I have another hussy story I'll post sometime. It's no wonder I feel such an affinity to the word!

JC Thomasin said...

That is a wonderful story. I love when familes have stories that paint their ancestors in a humorous light... those types of things that give a connection to the past. Seeing our ancestors as humans (as opposed to these distant, now dead entities) who were like us in some ways, and different in others, is a wonderful thing. Thanks for sharing!


Ciana Stone said...

I got such a chuckle out of your story! Maybe because I had one of those frying-pan toting grandmothers. That was the weapon of choice for years in the south it seems :)

Ironically, even our mothers' generation looks on the word as something negative. My mother nearly fell over when I told her about the Hussies. "You WANT to be called a Hussy????" she asked. "Why on earth would you want someone to call you that?"

Once I explained that times they are a changin' and that Hussy means something completely different, she was okay with it. (Whew, wiggled my way out of that one - and my mom STILL wields a mean cast iron skillet!!)

Thanks for sharing the story, Sally.

Happy weekend everyone!!

Sally Painter said...

Thank you, JC. I So agree.

As a result, I've always had a special place in my heart for my G-G grandmother who was a fiesty kind of 'hussy'.