For displaced, misplaced, and nostalgic ex-Brooklynites

That accent, again.


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Posted by Richard in Albuquerque on Sunday, August 4th 2019:

Today I visited a local trade show and while waiting for a purchase to be completed I chatted with the vendor, who turned out to be a relative of a good - local New Mexico- friend. The vendor was astounded that I did not sound like I was from Brooklyn (an old story). It has been nearly fifty years since I left to go sail on my uncle's yacht around the South China Sea and I have lost much of the "rough edges" through frequent job-induced relocations that took me across America and around the world. Consequently, I have developed what passes for the American version of "Estuary-English", meaning a bland middle-America accent according to my friends and neighbors. Now this seems to be a common experience. Each Wednesday, I have lunch with a small group of folks with a common interest in ...well, nothing special. After some months, I learned that of the five male regulars, four of us hail from NYC, and three of those five are from Brooklyn. All have experienced a similar reaction from aquaintances who are surprised that we don't say things like "toity-toid and turd" or "Fuggadaboudit" nor do we order cawfee with our meals. Yet each of us has confessed to recognizing our own sonorous Brooklyn roots while and after speaking with family members from "the old country." This evening I called and spoke by phone with my 80-year old sister who lives in Rockland County and my wife knew it immediately when she overheard my side of the conversation, because, wife says, "the Brooklyn" comes out in my speech. There were times, I admit, when I worked at losing the Brooklyn accent, such as when I worked undercover criminal cases in California and Virginia. Yet, It still catches me off guard when folks claim surprise when they learn of my origin. Makes me wonder about the stereotypes of Brooklyn that have made their way into the American imagination. I wonder what other folks think about Brooklyn. Particularly those who know the City of Churches, the County of Kings, the Borough of Brooklyn only thorough films and television.

Reference ID: BK95911



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