Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “a phrase you grew up with.” Include in your post a phrase your mom/dad/grandparent/sibling used all the time when you were growing up, or just write whatever inspires you based on that phrase. Enjoy!

My father spent some time in Switzerland when he was a young man. He picked up a few German phrases and brought them home. Sometimes things were “verbotin” and we knew what that meant. My mother would use a sprinking of Yiddish (her father was Jewish), and so I grew up hearing German-ish words not realizing they weren’t normal American English.

My father used to refer to my sisters and I, collectively, as scheisskopfs.* I thought it meant something like “you kids” or “you guys.” No one told me it didn’t.

I started kindergarten and was momentarily extroverted (I got over it). I intereacted with various kids, and groups of kids. I would refer to them as scheisskopfs. Apparently my teacher knew German. She didn’t say anything to me, but she called my parents. My mother was aghast, angry, mortified. My father? Tried to look serious and failed. He just cracked up. As I recall, mom wasn’t too pleased with him for that. They didn’t tell me what it meant, just that it was a bad word, and not to use it, “or else.” I didn’t. It was years before I learned its meaning, and I joined dad in a delayed laugh.

* In English: Shitheads. Also Scheisskopf was a minor character in Heller’s Catch-22.


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