Wash Our Mouths Out With Soap: A Collection of Expressions, Rhymes, Songs, Poems and Games Dating Back to the Early to Mid-1800s
by Bette Nunn
I have been working on this book, Wash Our Mouths Out with Soap, and collecting material for it for 20 years. It covers expressions from the first settlers to the present. It is dedicated to my mother, grandparents, aunts, uncles and brothers, who sometimes used the expressions in the book. My father, Roy R. Denney, died when I was a year old. My mother, Anna May Denney (Carmichael), died in 1971 and all my five brothers, Raymond, Paul, Floyd, Sam and Dale Denney have died since then. All of them have played a part in my life. My mother and brothers watched over me with a loving eye as long as they lived.
Before he died, my husband, Kenneth Nunn, and I laughed and talked about many of the expressions in this book as we compared what we had heard as children. Even though we came from different communities and our ancestors came from different states, many of the expressions were nearly identical.
Some of the language in this book is not appropriate for children, but it is what people said when I was young. Most every family I knew used it in one form or another, though not always in public.
My family members and relatives spoke some of these things, but I never picked up the habit nor did I teach the stronger ones to my children. I am allowing them to know now what life and language were like in my very young years by writing this book.
Most of the information that follows comes from my own memory. However, some readers realized I was collecting old expressions, rhymes and games and they sent some items to me, sometimes anonymously. In that case, I did not always know where they got them. — Bette Nunn
- Bette Nunn, March 2011
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