Pretty Does, Pretty Do


My Mom is from the South and she married a Yankee.  She was the first and only one in her family to do so which doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it did take her family some getting used to my Dad’s Yankee ways (not to mention his accent!)  Growing up, we divided our summer time between NJ and South Carolina so that Mom could visit with her family for a spell. (Southern for time).  Wanting to fit in as Southerners, Sissy and I would begin to mimic their drawl and lose some of our Yankee-ness while we were there and we watched as our Mom’s accent increased the longer we stayed.

Those were fun times for us as life down South is a bit slower than up North.  People take the time to talk a bit more to others and the words, “yes ma’am, no, ma’am, yes sir and no sir” are quite prevalent.  In fact, we just revisited her family home a few weeks ago and the ‘ma’ams and sirs’ are still widely used which I adored!  There’s something about being respectful to everyone which makes me so happy and I think that the way in which the Southerners all seem to still use those phrases makes life there even sweeter.

My Grandmama, being the mother of 9, had a saying for everything and as children, my Mom often took to repeating them to us in order to make her point.  In fact, she used them so often that my Dad suggested she write a book called, “Mama Says” for Grandmama had a little ditty for practically everything!  For instance, when we would misbehave, Mom would say, “pretty is as pretty does.”  As little girls, Sissy and I would always want to be thought of as ‘pretty’ in the way that we had manners and made our parents proud by the way we were acting.  So it was ingrained into us.  We knew, “pretty is as pretty does” and we would comment on anyone who was ‘acting ugly.’

Well, one day, I guess I was doing something less than stellar and so Sissy at age 4, decided to remind me.  But instead of saying the quote as it should be, she declared, “Remember, pretty does, pretty do!”  Well, I got the gist of what she meant and my Mom who overheard her, giggled and the saying stuck.  Now Grandmama’s saying has evolved to, “pretty does, pretty do.”

Do you have any family sayings that have stuck?  Please share!

Shine On!


16 thoughts on “Pretty Does, Pretty Do

  1. Sweet memories, and sweet words and sayings indeed! The book “Mama says” would have been a treasurable anthology! Well, to answer your question I remember my father calling me “mon lapin” which was sweet (lapin is rabbit). Your question leads me to remember of my childwood & beloved parents… I’m thinking… in fact, no special sayings from my mother, maybe just her laugh; yes, her laugh…she has learnt me to laugh every day, you have written a post about! And, whenever I hear her laughing from Heaven, it fills me with wonder! Thank you and have a nice week-end Yvonne ♥

  2. I cannot recall any – my mom called me baby doll. I understand the SCarolina drawl quite well – I had a boss who would call me Keeyem (sounds like). I liked it! Made kim sound more interesting and colorful.

  3. Cute story.

    I was born and raised in the south and still live in the south. My mom also had a lot of “those” sayings. Some of them I never quite understood the meaning of! I had a rude awakening on my honeymoon when my brand new husband and I traveled North to go to Niagara Falls. I guess I never realized just how much of a southern drawl I had until people there began making fun of my accent. Yes, we do still very much use ma’am and sir down here although I’ve learned that even that offends some people in the north (I never understood why). I taught my kids to say sir and Ma’am and taught them that we use them as a sign of kindness and respect (which is also what I was taught). I so agree with what you said about life being lived slower down here. I notice that every time I travel North now.

    • I am sorry that people made fun of your accent as I love Southern accents. Just smile and know you are special. I grew up using Yes sir/ma’am all the time as a child and it even comes up as an adult for me. Because I lived in both parts of the country, I am easily adaptable to either one even though I make my home in the North. I enjoy visiting down South every chance I get! ♥

  4. Love the south! I spent a large part of my 20’s & 30’s in the Outer Banks…we bought a house and had our first child there…such a beautiful time in our lives. I loved the slower pace, although it did take some time to adjust from my Yankee upbringing. One of the things I loved the most was when I went shopping, I think I spent more time talking to the shop owners than I actually “shopped”. Everyone wanted to get to know everyone…it was refreshing! Come to think of it, I’m sure my husband enjoyed that kind of “shopping” as well. 🙂 P.S. Your Mother has a beautiful accent! Xo!

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