Candid Chatter

Just Say It

Ma’am March 4, 2008

Filed under: Life... The Way I See It — candidchatter @ 10:58 am

I’ll never forget the first time somebody called me that. I was 12 years old. I was staying with my grandparents in Georgia for a couple of weeks one summer. My grandma took me to the grocery store and, while shopping, asked me to run off to get something she had forgotten. Proudly, I walked around looking for what she wanted. I couldn’t find it. Instead of returning to her empty handed, I tracked down a store clerk.

I said to him, “Excuse me, but could you tell me where [whatever it was] is?”

In his rich, southern manner of speaking he said to me, “Yes, ma’am, it’s down there in aisle [whatever it was].”

I was stunned and all in one sentence I felt so grown up. He called me ma’am. Heck yeah! I’m all big and stuff now world. Look out people a “ma’am” is coming through.


Last night while arriving home from my class I had to pass through the gated guard house which blocks the entrance to our community (high falutin’ if I ever saw it). Anyway, the familiar guard, as he recognized me, said, “Mrs. Reed. Welcome home. Pass on through and have a lovely evening.” All formal and sweet and he’s my favorite one by the way. Isn’t that a nice way to be greeted as you drive home from somewhere? Yeah. He’s my favorite.

But as I rounded the bend to my street all that Mrs. Reed stuff reminded me of the first time I was called ma’am.

I am only 34 years old. Too young to be a Mrs. As I’ve heard it said before, Mrs. Reed is my mother-in-law. I am Heidi.

However, that respectful remark took me back in time to a moment when I felt so grown up and to a vacation with my grandma I will cherish my whole life. She passed away in November.

I miss her.



4 Responses to “Ma’am”

  1. Lana Says:

    i’m opposite.
    i love being a ma’am… and a Mrs.

    I love the southern hospitality, respectfulness with a “ma’am.” Tiago knows to answer us with a “yes/no, ma’am or sir,” esp. if he is asked “do you understand what I mean?”

    just another way that Gainesville helped shape my adult habits

    I don’t like being a Mrs. Lana though to my friends’ kids.

  2. candidchatter Says:

    Don’t get me wrong. I am all about chivalry. I enjoy a respectful comment thrown my way esp by someone I’m doing business with. But inside sometimes it makes me feel silly. Esp if an older person throws the “Mrs.” or “ma’am” at me. The man who called me “ma’am” when I was 12 was old enough to be my grandpa. That’s why it struck me so…oddly.

    I didn’t know you don’t like being called “Miss Lana”. I teach my kids to call adults that because I think it’s way too casual for them to just call them by their first names. And some last names are hard to pronounce so calling you Mrs. [insert last name] might be harder than Miss [insert first name].

    Having said that, I don’t expect them to call their aunts and uncles “Aunt so and so” or “Uncle so and so”. Rich has an aunt who always addresses herself as “Aunt…”. I don’t call her “Aunt …” regardless of what she calls herself. Is that disrespectful? I mean, she’s not really my aunt. By marriage. Not by blood. And I don’t call my blood aunts “Aunt…”.

    Ok – time for coffee.

  3. Lana Says:

    it’s weird.
    i wouldn’t want B or J to call me Mrs. Barros by any means! Now that would be AWKWARD!
    I wish there was a title for friends parents… like a mix of the words Miss and aunt and friend.

    I didn’t teach tiago to say aunt and uncle, but I love that my nephews call me Titia Lana, so I’m changing that now with Tiago. He calls my sisters “Titia So and So…” and my brother-in-laws “Uncle So and so”
    miss you
    I’m praying about the closing

  4. […] It happened shortly after we returned from our trip to Arizona to say goodbye to my ailing Grandmother. He got dreadfully ill one weekend — fevers pushing 104+ and Motrin would only bring it down […]

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