Thursday, May 4, 2017


I always thought it interesting in other countries how even the language could change dramatically even from one village to the next.  What has made me sad about computers, mass media, and chain stores and restaurants is that they seem to be homogenizing our American society.  Like a modern glass skyscraper it is the same from top to bottom, from left to right.  There is no wondering what it might be like “in that interesting part of the building,” save for maybe how high the top floor is.

But local flavor is not completely dead.  Even within the Diocese of Cleveland there are defiantly differences between north of Rte 303 and south of it.  (It is often joked that one needs  passport to cross the imaginary boarder.

There are some obvious differences.  Only up here in Akron (see how I did that?  Akros Greek for top most) is SUMMIT county, we refer to the strip of grass between the sidewalk and the street the devil strip.  Now so down north.  When we say “downtown” we mean the district area of the city we are in; Akron, Barberton, Cuyahoga Falls, etc.  Down north they mean Cleveland.

A priest, when someone wants to show great respect, is often referred to as “sir” south of the 303 as in, “Good morning sir!”  North of 303 you might (and I have seen it) get you a cold stare and a lecture about, “I am Father, NOT sir.”

The Slovenians in the north sang a slightly different tune to my favorite Slovenian song, “Maria Pomagaj” than we did in the south.  We didn’t like their tune and they didn’t like ours.

It seems to me, and this is very general, that in communal penance, in the north priests are more likely to wear albs.  In the south it is not as common an occurrence.

If you want White Russian dressing on your salad, you will have to visit a ma and pa restaurant south of 303.

These are just a few of the things that I could think of.  Can you think of any more?  I would love to hear it.


Anonymous said...

This may not directly refer to what you are writing, Father. But personally, I sometimes get the impression that priests who are assigned to us here in the Akron area, who are originally from Cleveland and its suburbs, somehow think they have "come down in the world". Not all of them, and not all of the time. I do not get that vibe from you or Fr. Pf or Fr. Norm, who are from our area.

But sometimes it seems that priests assigned here would have preferred something closer to Cleveland, or a prosperous parish out in the countryside, like Wooster. I know Akron is a rather depressed area, not as "happening" as Cleveland. We have our own set of problems, like homelessness and crime. And it isn't as peaceful and pretty here as it is in the country. But it isn't so bad, is it? We have good parishes and good people, too, don't we?

Not a complaint, just an observation.

Chris P. said...

It's a tree lawn.

Anonymous said...

No, in Akron, it is a devil strip.

Anonymous said...

No, it is the easement, you crazy Ohioans.

(I am a transplant from the west. 🙂)

MaryofSharon said...

Having grown up in on a suburb on west side of Cleveland, another distinction I found was that a lot of people down here seem to eliminate the infinitive "to be", and just say "the grass needs mowed," instead of "the grass needs to be mowed" like we always said up in Cleveland. Not sure if that's a north/south thing or not.

Here's a dialect quiz that, at least for me, does a great job of pinpointing where I'm from. There you get to see a lot of other regional words and expressions and variant pronunciations.

Pat said...

" . . . another distinction I found was that a lot of people down here seem to eliminate the infinitive 'to be', and just say 'the grass needs mowed,' instead of "the grass needs to be mowed' "

I first encountered this elimination of "to be" when I lived in West Virginia. How odd it sounded to me, and to everyone else I knew who was not native to the state.

Another unusual West Virginian term was calling a knitted cap a "toboggan."
"Where's your toboggan?' meant "Where's your [knitted] cap?"

Anonymous said...

Its called the Devil Strip because of all of the dog droppings left on the grass. I have always been diligent to pick up after my dog. It is a shame to see this neglect. It is also a code violation to leave the mess...