WHERE YOU FROM?
How many times I have heard that question and in towns three thousand miles away,
California, Montana, other western states I've visited and even in Iowa (where by the way)
I think the people have a distinct accent. I know my cousins do.
But in any event, I have been asked "Where You From?" many times.
When I was first faced with that question, it was during a conversation with a new
acquaintance in Billings, Montana. I was enjoying our talk, when a sly grin spread across
my friends face and he asked, "Where you from?"
For some reason I suddenly felt purple and as if I had a Medusa head, why I don't know,
maybe just the way the question was asked, as if I came from someplace in outer space.
"Why do you ask?" I replied.
"You talk funny!"
Gee, (I was suddenly holding a conversation with myself to see how I sounded) "What do
you mean, how, funny?"
"Well, you say boDDle instead of boTTle the way the word is supposed to be pronounced,
kind of a lazy way of speaking. Its boTTle not boddul."
"Where you from"? he repeated.
I remember being a bit offended but instead of replying that he seemed more rude than
when we first began our conversation, I blurted out, I live in a little town called Rochester,
Pa., thirty miles from Pittsburgh."
"Oh," he replied that explains it.
Well, I guess something was explained for him but I wish I had had more pride at that age
and I would have explained much more instead of just feeling offended. For instance, that
Pittsburgh is a melting pot of many ethnicities and diverse backgrounds and thus, some
have a different way of saying things, which does not make it wrong, just different.
There are two words that are said to have originated in Pittsburgh, however, that I deny
and would never use. Younz and Aint. When my grandmother heard those words she
forbid any of her family to use the words.
So I never did. Of course she meant the ban specifically for her family in conversation but
did not believe in banning in print of newspapers or books and made that very clear.
Relatives of mine who have moved to other parts of the country always rush for the
CHIPPED HAM, HOT DOG SHOP HOT DOGS, CHEESE AND FRIES, SNYDER"S POTATO CHIPS,
HEINZ KETCHUP, KIELBASI and an IRON CITY when they return to visit. In fact I've mailed
the SNYDER"S CHIPS in bubble wrap all the way to Texas and the crumbs (smile) were
Words like REDDUP, GUMBANDS, REWF (roof) GREAZY, HAUSE (house) outatahn (out of
town) are words that designate Pittsburgh especially if a Pittsburgh citizen is interviewed
on a news program on KDKA or WTAE and the words I've mentioned are spoken. And, no,
everybody doesn't speak this way. But for some reason while listening to a newcast the
pronounced differences ARE noticed. And I think to myself, "WHERE YOU FROM?"
Pittsburgh is also famous for PITTSBUGH STEELAHS, PITTSBURGH PENGUINS, PIRATES,
PITTSBURGH INCLINE, CARNEGIE and ANDY WARHOL MUSEUMS, CARNEGIE INSTITUTE
and LIBRARY, HEINZ HALL AND FIELD, PNC PARK, KENNYWOOD AMUSEMENT PARK, and so
much more. Just Google Pittsburgh and you'll see.
If you come to visit, don't be surprised if someone offers you a BREWSKI with your kielbasi,
try it you'll like it.
"Now tell me, where you from?"