Saturday, October 20, 2007

Big Momma

When I was a little girl my great-grandmother Beatriz Barcina had become bed ridden. She was a sweet old lady. A big old lady. All of her great-grandchildren always referred to her as "Big Momma" to her face. Or we called her "Big-Momma-in-the-Bed". I was four and would go running into her room shouting "Hi Big Momma!" Why is it that now as an adult, I think that name is so derogatory? Yet I think it's funny to me, but also insulting.

I mean, would you ever want your grand or great-grand-children to call you "Big Momma" or "Big Daddy"?


Adventurer w/o Borders said...

LOL! Grandmother and grandfather (from "grand-mère et grand-père") mean big mother and big father. So great-grandmother means great big mama.

The use of such words like big and large used to be a complement, as in "He's larger than life."

It's only because of the recent American obsession to stay pencil thin does the reference to large size become a bad thing.

Perhaps, when we get over the shallow obsession with physical appearance and conformity to magazine editors' standards and just concentrate on being healthy, maybe, one day, these references to large size would regain their original meaning.

david mcmahon said...

You were so lucky - I never had grandparents, Colleen.

bonnie said...

OH My Gosh,
I never knew you thought the name had to do with size. It came from the distinction between grandma and great-grandma. The fact that she was a large women was actually incidental. Although, I will say that for me she was larger than life. She had a college education AND played on a girls' basketball team. She was tops in her class and won medals for her academic achievements. She also came to this country after marrying by proxy and although landing in a cold water flat in Mass.,she went to night school and learned to speak perfect english. The first day of the great depression, she opened a beauty salon and supported her entire family---mother, husband (who had lost his job)and three children. Her business was a huge success. I thought you should know this.