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.