Accents, Childhood, Colorado, Language, Perception, San Antonio, Speech, Texas, Y'all
I was four years old.
I remember, I was stringing beads at the kitchen table when Mom and Dad came to get me. They told me not to worry about the beads; just leave them there. We got in the car (an old black Volkswagen hatchback) and drove off.
Hours later, I was still thinking about the half-finished string of beads still sitting on the kitchen table back home. I kept wondering when we would get back to I could finish the string. Several more hours later, as great big snowflakes began to smack up against our windshield, I came to realize I probably wasn’t going to get to finish the string of beads after all. We eventually piled into a strange new house and promptly moved right in before going to bed. Mom said she packed the beads after all, but she wasn’t sure where they were. The next day, my older brother and sister took me out to play in the snow of our great big back yard. We made a snow man, something I’d never seen before, and then my brother took a running charge and tackled it. This small ranch in what seemed like the middle of nowhere was our new home.
I never thought about the beads again.
But I did think a lot about Texas,
Sometime later, I remember sitting around a dinner table eating fondu (it was the seventies, after all). The rest of the family was chatting away with the dinner guests, and their conversation puzzled me. They kept talking about how everyone back home in San Antonio talked in a funny way. I distinctly recall, my sister telling a story about a friend who used the word ‘y’all’ in the conversation, and of course there were the usual comments about how Mom’s speech had already come to match that of everyone else back in Texas. The laughter was all in good fun, but I simply didn’t understand. Almost all of my short life had been spent in San Antonio, Texas, and I hadn’t noticed anyone talking funny.
Eventually, we took a quick trip back to Texas for a couple days. It must have been a good year or so later. Dad sold our small vacation place on LBJ Lake bought a Ford Pick-up before driving home. While there, I remember seeing one of my old playmates. We talked for a few minutes, but something was different. I remember one thing in particular.
He said; “So y’all going back to Colorada?”
And I suddenly realized that he DID talk funny. So did everyone else! How I hadn’t noticed before would remain a mystery to me for quite some time,
THAT, is how I first became aware of accents.