What Size Panties Do You Wear?

Funny, but on this particular visit with Larry’s family I felt most connected to my mother in law than anyone.

Maybe it was because we were both misplaced for a few days.

She was briefly but literally misplaced, moving from her home of over 50 years into assisted living in a city she’s never lived in before.

The move went well and we think Mama Crew will be happy in her new place. Her view will be of the lovely mountains of southwestern Virginia, instead of the familiar homes and comings and goings of the people on Dee Kay Drive.

The original Family Crew at Dee Kay Drive, late 1950's (That's my cute Larry out front. ♥)

Mama Crew is a funny gal. She was married to Larry’s Dad for over fifty years, had four kids, was a registered nurse, and has a very cute and acute issue with malapropisms.

Malapropisms- words unintentionally substituted for inappropriate but like-sounding words that take on a ludicrous meaning when used incorrectly. (Named for Mrs. Malaprop, a character noted for her misuse of words in Sheridan’s comedy The Rivals (1775))

Mama Crew actually caught herself with her latest lexical confusion. She told us that her doctor said she had tilapia in her foot.

I bet that would smell bad after a few days.

But since she really meant to say she had neuropathy, I don’t guess it will. She was laughing at herself over this, so I have taken it as a sign that it’s okay for me to write this post on Mama Crewisms as we call them.

Disclaimer: I in no way wish to show disrespect to my mother in law or the others who know and love her. I am not making fun of her; I am simply sharing the love.

Our favorite Mama Crewism to date was when she told us that a live hostage was moving in with a sick relative.

After several months of saying this, she was corrected that Alive Hospice had actually moved in. She then began saying Alive Hospage.

We just leave it alone now.

Mama Crew not only uses malapropisms. She also says random things at random times. She speaks as she thinks of things and jumps from one subject to another in a lengthy stretch of conversation.

I had not known Larry long when we were visiting his parents and other family members in Richmond. At the dinner table, in the middle of a conversation about the local news, Mama Crew blurted, “What size panties do you wear, Libby?”

Total silence.

I grabbed Larry’s knee under the table. He began laughing. Larry’s dad was grinning. Everyone was staring at me, waiting on an answer. Anxiety rushed in like a river. My face was on fire, red as could be.

I lied that I did not know.

I was told later that she probably just asked because she wanted to buy me panties for a gift.

Towels please.

Yes, that would be a better gift. Thank you.

One size fits all towels.

We were visiting a few years ago.  Mama Crew had not seen Alli since she had “blossomed” into a young lady.

She studied Alli in her low-cut t-shirt and said, “We all know you have breasts now.”

Alli laughed. It didn’t bother her because the whole blooming family was not there, like they were for the panty size episode.

Larry, Alli, Mama Crew - Richmond, 2001ish

But, Larry’s most humiliating moment of his adolescent life took place in the packed waiting room area of his pediatrician’s office. Mama Crew walked in ahead of him with a jar in a brown paper bag. She plopped it down on the counter and loudly announced, “Here’s Larry’s urine specimen!”

The Crews came to visit us in Nashville a couple of times. On one visit we took them to the popular Loveless Cafe for breakfast. Daddy Crew ordered tomato juice, and drank it while we were all looking over the menu. The waitress picked up his empty glass on her way through the very crowded and small dining room. A few minutes later, Daddy Crew became irritated because his juice was missing. Mama Crew said, in a not so quiet voice, “You drank it, you fool!” People two tables over were trying to hold in their laughter.

Clinton and June Crew -Richmond, 1940's

Mama Crew always keeps us entertained with her mix ups. She once said she liked those rolls that lady at the Catholic Church makes. It took us a while, but we figured out they were Sister Shubert’s Rolls. (A non-Catholic who happens to go by Sister.)

Mama Crew calls them Sister Shuburk’s Rolls.

My dad, who loves this story, now calls them The Nun Buns.

More Momma Crewisms:

Have you ever had Suzie (Sushi)?

I like that Tomato Biscuit Soup (Tomato Bisque Soup).  

Would you like some Orange Bombbalay (Orange Marmalade)?

Mrs. Carbaugh and I went out to Taco Bell and I had a bean bombbito (burrito).  It was good, but it ran right through me.

He took me to Pan Terra (Panera) for lunch yesterday.

She has to fly to Amaryllis (Amarillo) to get to I-O-A (Iowa).

Those people in Pennsylvania live in broths (boroughs).

That’s right aggavatin (aggravating)!

The mouse-keetas  (mosquitoes) were terrible!

My author-iddis (Arthritis) is acting up.

And it seems we learn something new every day about The Family Crew. Evidently, Larry’s niece is studying Sinus Behavior.  That could work. I’m all for the study of sinus behavior, but I think she meant Behavioral Science.

While driving Mama Crew around Richmond once, she pointed out Larry’s sister’s work place and informed us, “She’s a cannibal there.

The resident, office cannibal. We’d always wondered, but it was still a shock. Come to find out, she was trying to say she worked in accounts receivable.

Always full of news, Mama Crew let us know that Dunn and Bradstreet (Brooks and Dunn) had broken up and that the canyons (Kenyans) had won the local marathon. Through Mama Crew we also heard that some family friends had not one, but two artistic (autistic) children, and that another friend liked Wesson movies (western).

Mama Crew is rightly proud of being a nurse. Larry and I took her to the beach once and while walking on the pier we came upon a little boy who had a splinter in his foot. His mother was sitting by him trying to remove it.

Mama Crew marched up, and reported to duty with, “June Crew, Registered Nurse.”

Oh, the look on that woman’s face.

Mama Crew and Alli meet for the first time - cousin Teri's wedding, 1993

I shall leave you with one of the best Mama Crewisms.

Over dinner, Mama Crew told us the story of someone who had sleep acne (apnea).

It would not have been as funny if not for Alli’s face.

She was pubescent, and when I looked at her across the table I could tell her mind was racing. I’m sure she was thinking GREAT! Now I have to get used to sleep acne too? What is that? Sleep Acne…

Steer clear of Bean Bombbitos. I hear they also cause tilapia.

-Libby Lu


36 thoughts on “What Size Panties Do You Wear?

  1. My son used to ask if we could go to the Bee Hater (Theater) and see a movie, but our favorite malapropism is “paint nolish”. This is my daughter’s word for nail polish, and at 17 years old, she still refuses to give it up!

  2. What a funny mother-in-law you have! You’re a great writer! A friend’s mother used to always say, “Toss me that african to cover up my legs with!” (afghan). So funny!

  3. Libby, I love this. My mother’s favorite show was The Closure. When Langley told her that it was pronounced The Closer, she was mortified, but Evans and Langley have called it The Closure ever since. She also talked about her sold, which is how she pronounced soul. I am certain her sold is in heaven regardless of how she said it.

  4. Libby,

    I really do like your writing. I have been following your postings since the start of the Trinity Fall term. Today’s was a gem. With all due respect to Momma Crew, I have had relatives and friends of relatives who were “getting on in years,” and so this resonated deep within that kernel of my mind that has those memories. As I was reading your piece I was connecting and feel drawn in to the story, to feel and the charm of the story. But, I just lost it did audible laughing when I was reading the teenage angst at the very thought of “sleep acne.” One more of life’s unfair tribulations for that young lady. That must have been quite the face to read at that very moment.

    Thank you for your well crafted writing. Keep it up.

    • What a kind note J. I appreciate your input. Yes, the sleep acne incident was momentarily traumatic for Al, but oh so funny for me. Thank you for your support, nice words and for reading my blog. I have fun with it.

  5. Libby Crew, I swear you are one of the FUNNIEST writers I have ever read. I was howling, especially about the “office cannibal” and the “sleep acne!” I read this with Kira and she was crying with laughter. Thank you so much for sharing this about your adorable Mama Crew! I feel like I know her, and would definitely love meeting her!

  6. Reblogged this on The View is Great! and commented:

    A Summer Rerun
    Please forgive me here, but it’s been a busy week. Also, my brain is over heated. It’s time for some laughter, so I’m reposting this from January. It’s in honor of my mother in law whom we will be seeing soon. I’ll catch up with you within the week.
    Thanks for reading,
    Libby Lu

  7. So funny Libby!! This reminds me of my mom telling me she used Viagra for her Tomato Plants and she said it made them grow very big…Turns out the name of it is Viagro which is a vegetable fertilizer. Enjoyed reading about Mama Crew and look forward to many more of your stories. Love you, Evelyn

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