Tuesday, September 20, 2011

South in the Mouth

"Where are you from?" was the question El Jefe and I kept getting the minute we introduced ourselves to other couples at a Yale alum event we attended last weekend in New Haven, Connecticut.

"I knew you were from somewhere in the South!" was the invariable response to our acknowledgement that yes, we are from Texas. 

This brought back memories for both of us. Memories of similar conversations when we were students in Ivy League colleges (I went to Cornell)  in the late 1960's when very few Texans ventured "up north" for school . Somehow we thought that our accents had become less distinct over the years, but clearly we were wrong about that.

Back in the day there was a definite bias against all things southern and all things Texan on those campuses, so those conversations were not comfortable ones. In defense, we found ourselves exaggerating our accents, displaying Texas flags in our dorm rooms, and gathering with the handful of other Texas ex-pats to celebrate Texas Independence Day on March 2.

Both our daughters went out of state to school--Averill to Yale and Jane to the University of the South (Tennessee). They continued the tradition of displaying the Texas flags and every March 2 I shipped tamales and chili to them for their own Texas Independence Day celebrations. 

This time, though, we found our accents an advantage because the questions led to interesting conversations with people we would not meet otherwise. They all asked us about Governor Rick Perry's candidacy  for the GOP Presidential nomination, and surprisingly to us, the people we spoke with (all from Blue States) expressed support for Anybody But Obama. That's a real change from the days when Texan Presidents LBJ and GWB(43) were vilified on campus. 

Apparently our fellow Baby Boomers reflect the Sir Winston Churchill's famous observation: "Anyone who is not a liberal in his youth has no heart. Anyone who remains so as he matures has no brain!" 

I know that I do.


Kimberly said...

When I was at Princeton Seminary from '00 to '03 we had a group called "ATLAS" - it stood for something along the lines of "Association of Texax-Lovin' Seminarians." I can't remember what the second "A" stood for. Because it was open to everyone & anyone who loves Texas, we actually got standing & funding for being an official seminary student group. Every March 2 we had a Texas Independence Day party, complete with tamales & Shiner Bock, and Texas flags were hung outside dorm windows (even though we weren't supposed to).

On another note, one of my best friends in seminary also graduated from UT-Austin Law School. He was scary smart. Anyway, he did an internship in GWB's office when he was governor.

Robin said...

As an alternative to Mr. Churchill, Ms. Steinem once pointed out (as a gross generalization) that men tend to become more conservative as they age and women more liberal, due to experiencing the consequences of child-raising, divorce, and widowhood quite differently from one another.

Love from one of your mature but brainless friends!

Quotidian Grace said...

Never brainless, Robin! Sir Winston was a master of hyperbole. Plus in my family I'm known as the more "liberal" Parental Unit.