Monday, December 04, 2006

Visiting Mrs. Murphy



This grand lady is Orpha Jane Brown Gray; she was born 135 years ago today. Although no longer living, Orpha did live almost 100 years. She died shortly after her 97th birthday. Orpha is my maternal grandmother, and I was born on her seventy-fifth birthday, which makes me 60 years old today. I was named after her as we share the same middle name, Jane. The two of us were always grateful that we did not share the name Orpha.

Since Grandma Gray was born and grew to adulthood in the nineteenth century, her world view was much different than mine. She said some things that I was not able to comprehend. One of the expressions that I remember is my grandmother saying, “I am going to see Mrs. Murphy.” When did grandma say this? She said this when heading to my Aunt Ida’s outhouse. At the tender age of three, this was a curiosity to me. Was my grandma meeting Mrs. Murphy in the outhouse? Who was this Mrs. Murphy? Of course, Grandma was using this saying about the visit to Mrs. Murphy as a euphemism for taking care of the bodily function of excretion. I understand about not wanting to mention the specifics of the trip to the bathroom, and many people, including Daddy D, mention going to the library. However, those people frequently use the bathroom as a reading spot in addition to the usual business so the library comment makes some sense.

Do you have a favorite euphemism for taking care of the business of excretion? I like to say that “I am going to the bathroom,” which in itself does not give any specifics about what is happening in the bathroom. Or better yet, I prefer to discretely take care of matters without any discussion about where I am going or what I plan do when I get there. After all, do we really want to know if the visit to Mrs. Murphy involves number one or number two?

Grandma Gray would probably not approve this whole discussion, but Happy Birthday to the both of us.

28 Comments:

At 7:03 AM, Blogger Gattina said...

Happy birthday to you ! Join the 60th ! I have already since 3 years. Lol about the story from this day on I will go to Mrs. Murphy, I swear ! I won't say anymore I am going "to the pipi room" (of course not when guests were here)
You asked me if I sell my paintings, yes some of them are gone.

 
At 7:49 AM, Anonymous John said...

It always gives us Brits a laugh when Americans use the word 'bathroom' when they mean the 'loo'. :-)

 
At 9:17 AM, Blogger Frema said...

Happy birthday, Molly!

My verbiage is dependant upon the company I'm in. If I'm around strangers, I'll simply excuse myself and go do my thing. The next level is "I'm going to use the bathroom." For Luke or one of my siblings, though, they receive the epitome of crudeness: "I gotta pee" (even if I'm doing something else).

 
At 11:04 AM, Blogger PJ Librarian said...

Happy, Happy Birthday to you on this especially special day. One of the first things I had to decipher when dating and then marrying your wonderful son was the phrase "I'm going to take care of some business". At first I didn't have a clue of what he meant and then when I figured out where he was going, I was a little slow still on the meaning. The business part just confused this simple minded girl who either doesn't say anything or wanders from saying from the ladies room, bathroom, or restroom depending on the company. But, for some reason I have recently started to channel my husband's words. Um I do believe he is rubbing off on me. However, I do like Daddy D's saying. Libraries can take many forms and functions. Much love!

 
At 11:33 AM, Anonymous swampwitch said...

Thanks for visiting today. What an interestingn story and an interesting question. I'd never really thought about all the different ways we share that bit of information. I'm also interested in all the names for the "loo" as John calls it...The John, perhaps? ;)
I usually say, "I'm going to the bathroom," however, not necessarily to take a bath. And sometimes, "I'm going to the restroom," and not necessarily to rest. Growing up, we only had outhouses, and I think that visit was prefaced with, "Is the Sears and Roebuck catalog still in the two-holer?"

 
At 11:51 AM, Anonymous Susan said...

Happy Happy Birthday to you! I hope it's your best yet!

My grandma used to always say she was going to "go visit with Maggie". It also took me the longest time to figure out who the heck she was talking about.

 
At 2:35 PM, Blogger daddy d said...

Jane is a neat name. It goes right along with Tarzan. "You Jane; me Tarzan.",kind of thing. The adventure of the journey of life is wonderful.

 
At 4:14 PM, Blogger gawilli said...

Happy December birthday my fellow Sagittarian! What a grand lady to share a name with. And isn't the name Orpha interesting? I love the old names. Hope your birtday is wonderful!

 
At 9:32 PM, Blogger Margaret said...

Happy Birthday! And I have always liked the name Jane. I just say I'm going to the bathroom, if anyone would wonder. I don't give out any details. I sometimes do about other things--like Aunt Flo is in town. She doesn't come to visit much these days though.

 
At 10:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an interesting subject.

My family always used the discrete "going to the bathroom", though my father sometimes called it "the john". That had a somewhat threatening male sound to me. Around his friends he would sometimes say "the can", and I thought that was very crude. In my imagination it was an actual can, a large one, and the kind of place where cigaratte butts would be lying all over the floor.

 
At 1:02 PM, Blogger Tink said...

Happy birthday!!

*Sets up e-candles*

I usually just say I'm "going to the bathroom" too. But not Hoop. His favorite terms are:

"I'm off to pinch a loaf"
"I'm dropping the kids of at the pool"

Of course this is only around family. Thank god!

 
At 2:13 PM, Blogger meggie said...

Happy Birthday!
Thanks for visiting my blog.
I have just been entertained by yours, & have enjoyed the postings.
I too, love old photographs, & old family stories.
I am 63, but in my heart, I suppose I feel about 50-or less!
My brother has just turned 60, & says he cant believe it!

 
At 3:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday! !

My Birddog will tell us he is going to drop the Browns off at the Superbowl. . .

I queitly disappear and don't tell anyone where I am going. . . :)

 
At 3:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

P.S. - Thanks for stopping by!

 
At 6:02 PM, Blogger Big Mama said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 6:05 PM, Blogger Big Mama said...

Happy Birthday! Thank you for stopping by my place. My grandmother was almost 60 years older than me. It was 60 years minus 14 days. I'll be 40 on my next b-day and she (14 days later) would have been 100. To this day she is still my favorite person...

Oh and as far as the potty-stop goes, I prefer the term,"I have to go" or "I really NEED to go" LOL!
My father always has to see a man about a horse?!?!
Hope to see you around soon.

 
At 4:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Molly Mouse!!!
Molly is the best ...I have GREAT admiration for her. I look up to her and wish I could have been more like her. She is best thing that ever could have happened to our family. I love you Molly Jane.

Ruthie

 
At 4:57 AM, Blogger Isabelle said...

Happy birthday from Scotland.

My mum tends to say, "I'm off to visit my auntie".

But I'd probably say "loo" or "bathroom" - the latter doesn't sound particularly American to me. Maybe it's a Scottish/American thing?

 
At 2:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy birthday to you both!!! I love the fact that you and she share a name, it is so very special! Terribly uncreative am I, I usually quietly say that I'll be right back. That tends to leave a lot to the imagination! :-)

 
At 3:32 PM, Blogger Stace said...

Happy birthday!

I'm wonderfully unrestrained: I tell my husband "I gotta pee!" No euphamisms for me! :)

 
At 9:09 PM, Blogger Cazzie!!! said...

"Gotta go water the lilly"
"Going to visit the throne"
"Skip to the loo"
Boys say, "Gotta go shake the snake" LOL.

 
At 4:30 AM, Blogger Lucy said...

Happy Birthday!!
Thank you for visiting my blog.
I knew your blog before your visting. I visited your blog from "cazzy" too!!
My grandfather was 103 years old.
Recently, I remenber about my grandgather, grandmather and my father. So I was old now.

 
At 2:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday. I always say something juvenile like I have to go potty.

Orpha is an interesting name, but I don't think it will be making a comeback soon.

 
At 7:24 PM, Blogger debi said...

I am sorry I am so late. Happy Birthday. You always have a kind and interesting comment and I like it when you come round.

 
At 10:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I laughed on reading this post. We have trained our dogs to "Go Murphy" (the full phrase required abbreviation) after reading the book "Cheaper by the Dozen". That's what the Gilbreth family used, and it works well as a polite code word for our dogs in public!

 
At 4:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I googled this to show my daughter that I did not make this up(Mrs. Murphy)My oldest daughter says"I have to make winkie"

 
At 8:36 AM, Blogger Michael Dietz said...

My Grandpa Donnelly used to say:

Do you kids need to visit Mrs.Murphy before leaving in the car.

My dad took it further.
"Did you kids see the movie Mrs.Murphy ass?" It's in 2 parts.

Poor ole' Mrs.Murphy lmao

 
At 8:41 AM, Blogger Michael Dietz said...

My Grandpa Donnelly used to say:

Do you kids need to visit Mrs.Murphy before leaving in the car.

My dad took it further.
"Did you kids see the movie Mrs.Murphy ass?" It's in 2 parts.

Poor ole' Mrs.Murphy lmao

 

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