Having grown up in South Florida, the land of “the third exodus” as I like to call it (the first was when the Jews left Egypt, the second was when they arrived in New York, and the third was the final immigration back to the sands – Miami Beach), I was always surrounded by a variety of accents. Sometimes the accents were tinged with Spanish rolled r’s, but more often than not, the “o” in dog was substituted by an “aw” that almost morphed into “or”. These sounds were sweet and funny, and for a while during my childhood I wondered why everyone didn’t sound this way. Sometimes, however, I had a hard time figuring out just what people were saying and so I had my own take on commonly repeated phrases. For example, my Nana’s typical phone closing was “Give Mary Gods”. I always wondered who Mary was and why we were giving her Gods. No matter who Nana spoke to, she always asked to give Mary Gods. When I finally inquired about this curious phrase, it was explained that Mary Gods was actually “my regards”. At that time, it still didn’t make much sense, why should one thing sound one way, but actually be something totally different? I reasoned it was easy enough to say “my” with the hard “I”, and “regards” with the hard “r”. Afterall, not everything Nana said was always spoken the same way.
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