Katherine Prudhomme-O’Brien inducted me. Yup. She inducted me into the New England Society for the Preservation of our Accent, because my New Hampshire accent is so ... obvious. I used to be able to turn it on and off (bilingual), when I was in college and people made fun of it, or when I was hosting a radio show and worried that some listeners might be thrown off by pronunciations like “con” for “corn,” “drag-ass” for “dry gas,” “laahd” for “lard,” etc.
But lately the off button isn’t working. That’s OK with me. I enjoy all kinds of accents – they show our regionality. Nothing wrong with regionality, if you ask me, or Katherine Prudhomme-O’Brien. She’s a trustee of the Derry Library and loves books as much as she loves accents. She grew up in No. Reading, Mass., and in rebellion “developed a deep love for the written word.” Moving to Reading, as a teenager sealed the deal.
Which reminds me of a story.
Fifty or sixty years ago, give or take, my parents and my grandparents were driving to visit Aunt Lila and Uncle Fred on Cape Cod. As they drove from town to town, Grampa famously said: “I Needham breakfast. If I don’t get breakfast soon, I’ll be Dedham.”
I am honored to be “Honorary Member Number 0003” of the NESPA. No fee to belong, but a warning: “Membership may be revoked if member intentionally attempts to lose said accent." I never would!
Katherine writes that her society is “dedicated to the proposition that the New England accent is a beautiful, cultural treasure worthy of our affections.”
Got any good stories about adventures with the accent, like misunderstandings, perhaps? Love to hear them. Put ‘em in my next book, all about New Hampshire sayings and expressions, and the way we talk around heah given our druthers.