Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday Favorites: The Duchess and the Quaker Oats Man

The question that I get asked more than any other is this one:
Exactly who is the Duchess?

To answer, I decided to join Chari at her wonderful blog Happy to Design for her Sunday Favorites party, a place where bloggers post old posts for new friends. This old post was blogged back in the echo chamber on February 5, 2010. It introduced The Duchess.




The Duchess and the Quaker Oats Man

If my life were a novel, my mother would be one of its most colorful characters.

We dubbed my mother The Duchess  years ago. Technically, her heraldry name is The Duchess of Do More because Mom is a whirling dervish of activity. She does everything at Duchess Speed and had mastered the art of the multi-task long before the baby boomers thought that they had invented it. That’s why she was recently named volunteer of the year for our state.

Mom got the nickname The Duchess when her only grandson was a baby. Frustrated by the fact that he had identified his “Pa” by name and had yet to syllabicate anything that sounded remotely close to “Grandma”, she began listening intently to his baby babble in an effort to prove that he did, indeed, have a special name for her. One day, he pointed his chubby little finger in her direction and babbled something that sounded like “dtsstssss…”

Aha!
She pounced on the moment
and proclaimed that he was calling her
“Duchess”.
We laughed, and the name stuck.

My nephew never actually called her Duchess by the way. He eventually called her Grama just like all the other grandkids. The possible exception would be my older daughter, whose personal pet name for Mom, particularly in her Polish moments, is Grammooski. To the rest of us, Mom is very affectionately called either The Old Woman or The Duchess.

Some Random Duchess Facts:

1. It is impossible for The Duchess to sit on the passenger side of a car without sizzling. If you have a mother like The Duchess, you know without explanation that I am referring to the s-s-s-s-s-s-s sound made by sucking air over the teeth. The car sizzle is generally accompanied by the doorknob clutch, the foot thrust, and a two syllable scolding.  Deb-rah!....

2. If you tether her hands, you tie her tongue.

3. The Duchess is loud and expressive. She has always been loud and expressive, but she is doubly so now that she has lost a good part of her hearing. Once, one of the girls’ favorite teachers mentioned that he knew how The Duchess felt about a particular hot button topic. When asked how he knew, he replied with a laugh,
“Her windows were open.”

4. And regarding that hearing loss? Everyone mumbles around The Duchess. She doesn’t know why people can’t speak up anymore. And that fancy sound system at the church  is absolutely worthless and a waste of good money…

5. Don’t ask The Duchess for her opinion if what you really want is affirmation. After all, she was planning to give that opinion whether or not you asked…. And then you asked.

6. If there is one thing that The Duchess saves as much as The Polish Tupperware, it’s the empty coffee can.


At any given time, she will have dozens of them stashed in her utility shed. The coffee cans are multi purpose do-mores, but her favorite reincarnation is as whimsical centerpieces. She offered the use of her coffee cans as we were planning my niece’s recent wedding. She was kidding. We think.

7. The Duchess loves holidays, especially Christmas. Her 15 Christmas trees will have to be fodder for a post all their own…

And finally…

8. When The Duchess started to gray, we observed that she bore a striking resemblance to this guy:


We told her so and have teased her unmercifully ever since. She always laughs.

By the way, that part's not nearly as funny to me as it used to be, if you know what I mean...

32 comments:

Denise said...

I loved this post the first time I read it and love it more today! You have described her perfectly. The only two things I would add...How extraordinarily generous she is with her time and money and the fact that the newer additions to the family do NO wrong! (You couldn't have the latter suggestion when you wrote this post because WE didn't know about this phenomenon).

Linda (More Fun Less Laundry) said...

Hi Debbie, The Duchess' long lost sister, better known as "Ma," brought me up. She has the rest of the precious Polish Tupperware collection which I spent much of my childhood washing and drying by hand because the dishwasher doesn't leave it nice and clean. And the last time I drove with her as a front seat passenger we had to stop the car so she could be removed to the back seat. I am laughing so hard--what a great way to start the day! Linda

Carol said...

Debbie,
What a wonderful description of The Duchess! She is an amazing woman. I love the fun and love that your family shares with each other. Delightful post!

Marla @ Always Nesting said...

What a fun, descriptive post and I'm laughing so hard at the Quaker Oats resemblance.

Sailing Simply said...

Wonderful! Loved the explanation! What a fabulous story of how your family came to recognize your mothers royalty. We should all be so blessed by our grands one day!

Happier Than a Pig in Mud said...

What a great post Debbie, so fun! Did the Duchess read it:@) Have a great Sunday:@)

gnee @ Singing With Birds said...

I was asked the other day, "If you could dine with anyone who would it be?" That's a hard question, but honestly, "the Duchess" came to mind. You've painted such a great picture of this woman, and so many others. I love all that you share and I'm glad that she laughs about her likeness to the oatmeal man. I'm not sure I would!

Keetha Denise Broyles said...

Very fun.

Chatty Crone said...

Okay - you mother sounds wonderful. Love the coffee cans. And if you ask her what she thinks - her idea will always be different than yours. Isn't that what mothers are all about? sandie

Sharon Kirby said...

Love the Duchess!

She is the "Duchess of Do-A-Lot"
the "Granny of Grain"
the "Tyrant of Tin"

Her motto: "I'm busy and I can't get up."

She sounds like the most awesome person. If I don't meet her before, I'm finding her in Heaven. I have a feeling she'll be the one organizing the angels into a little impromptu recital.

Love her -

GOD BLESS!

(p.s. Her favorite album: "Sounds of Silence"???)

Sue said...

Debbie, you always bring a smile to my face, and reading about the Duchess, brought much laughter, for a while I thought you were talking about my Duchess. lol. Your Duchess and my Duchess would get along so well, they might even become best friends. lol.
Thank you for this introduction.
Hugs,
Sue

Jessa Irene (Holiday-Haven) said...

This is so funny! Love that you are both respectful and laughing. I have known a duchess or two and am hoping that I never fit that bill. Very cute post, smiling all the way through!

Chari at Happy To Design said...

Hi Debbie...

My friend, what a fun post about your mother the Duchess! She sounds like quite the woman and I would love to meet her! I DO hope that you will post about all of her Christmas trees...ohhh my gosh, I can't even begin to imagine decorating that many trees! I love it! This was so much fun, Debbie...so glad that you reposted it for the Sunday Favorites party! Thank you, my friend!

I also wanted to tell you thank you for that sweet note that you left about my Tea Rose bedroom...you just made my day!!!

Have a fabulous week, my friend!
Chari @Happy To Design

Amy Kinser said...

You are hilarious! I love the quaker oat man look and yes, I know what you mean.

Funny story about my mom and her grandmother name....Her name is Judy and when she became a grandmother at what she felt like was too young of an age, she didn't want a "granny" like name. She decided that she would be called JuJu. That was all well and good and the first four grandchildren did what they were supposed to do and called her JuJu and she felt all young and not granny like, I guess. Then my youngest daughter, Faith, came along and instead of calling her JuJu, she called her doo doo. Yep...doo doo. And, she said it LOUD! She said it everywhere we went and in front of everyone we were in front of because she couldn't say what mother wanted to be called. I definately played off this one and loved telling mom that if she hadn't been so prideful (yes, I love her dearly), then she wouldn't have been called doo doo for all the world to hear. She actually thought it was funny too. (thank goodness)

CAL said...

I have always wondered why you referred to your Mom as the Duchess, love love love it!

Congrats to your Mom and the Volunteer award, my gosh she has touched many lives and now our lives through you. Thank you!

I'm really looking forward to the Christmas tree post and hoping you will include a tablescape or two?!

Sonja said...

This is so cute, and I laughed at the SIZZLING sound of the two syllable scolding. Deb-rah!.... I can picture it!

What a very special mom you have! Probably got some of that humor in your spirit from her! :)

Lynn Richards said...

Thank you for the blog button of the week, my friend!!
My mother got "syllabicated" Mamoo. Which she gracefully kept and insisted that all three of her grandchildren call her. I do believe it is a generational thing to drive from the passenger seat.
Delightful post, my friend!!
xo
lynn

Anita said...

Hi Debbie, I APOLOGIZE for not getting here sooner! I have been swamped at church, and home and have been posting and running!! Bad, I know;-( I have had that problem when visiting other blogs, but no one has mentioned it to me. I'm not sure what is going on though. BTW, I guessed who the duchess was. Sounds a LOT like the one I have, lol!

FrouFrouBritches said...

Boy, The Duchess sounds just like my grandmother! How I miss her after reading this! She sounds wonderful! Love Denise's comments too!

Dayle said...

I love the history of The Duchess. She sounds like a delight to know.

Sherry said...

OH, MY! I was laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes. That is too fun. Love this post. I think some of us are lucky to spend enough time with family that we can have the shared memories of grand woman like your mother! So very cute. Thanks for a fun read.
Sherry

A Hopeful Heart said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Linda W said...

I remember when you shared this before, Debbie, and I love it as much the second time around! Also, I have to say that I'd love to meet the Duchess, although I'd be calling her a Georgia Peach!

Ms.Daisy said...

Debbie,
Your Mom sounds like a lot of fun...well really, your whole family seems to be a fun group! Loved the history of The Duchess. Thank you for your encouraging comments on my post today.

~Jean

bj said...

This is an absolute ADORABLE post and you had me laughing out loud! I love your cute sense of humor and I know that I'd LOVE hanging out with the Duchess. She reminds me SO SO much of my late mom. Bwaaaaa, now I am missing my mom..!

Francie...The Scented Cottage Studio said...

oh the laughs and the memories...my little mother did the very same things in the front seat...and even in the back :)) she also had a few "collections".
thanks for sharing the Duchess with us.
(())

Anonymous said...

This is the Duchess. I have read this post and I approve this message. Love all your wonderful remarks.

Kelli said...

I feel as if I know the Duchess personally! She sounds like a lot of fun! Besides, you are her daughter and I know you just have to be a riot!! Thanks for posting this again!

Angel said...

I loved reading about your sweet Mom and how she became known as "The Duchess". I really do think you could write a book. You already have the cast of characters in your own family to write about. :)

laurie @ bargain hunting said...

Deb-or-ah! I am sooo glad you re-posted this! I really want to a be a member of your family. While I was laughing my way through this post, I was also feeling that your mother was so endearing. A couple of things reminded me of my mother, whom I lost 10 years ago, so those things brought a smile to my face because of my memories. You have such a talent for writing. I hope you are writing a book and that some day I'll be able to say, I read Debbie's words when she was just a blogger! laurie

Entertaining Women said...

Random question...did the Duchess ever live in Japan? My Aunt Ida lived in Japan after WWII, and she picked up a habit common with the Japanese people at the time....you guessed it.....s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s. It used to drive my mama nutty when she would drive Aunt Ida different places. A good giggle, indeed. I might look like the Quaker man now, too...if I didn't get back to my natural blonde once a month. Great post...Thanks for stopping by my post! Come visit any time. Cherry Kay

Holly said...

I love the story and all the little nuisances that make the Duchess special. I would love for someoen to call me the Duchess one day. It sounds so fancy.

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