Date: Fri, 12 Jan 1996 12:36:09 -0700


Subject: Re: 'old maid'


I hope I'm still in time to get in under the wire on editing the entry

for this term.

I asked my mother, now 92 and a native of Marshall, Texas, and she

immediately offered 'old maid', saying that it could apply to one or several.

A check with a woman in Oklahoma who grew up on a farm in the southern part

of the state with her grandparents drew a blank, however.

A survey of Southern members of our faculty only drew three responses

so far, or rather 4. All but one were negative:

Yes - Atlanta; only after prompting of term; doesn't use,

thought her grandmother had used it.

No - Atlanta

No - New Orleans

No - North Carolina

(that's five; I had forgotten one)

Another faculty member, a native of Grand Island, Nebraska, confirmed

its use in his family.

So the only strong positive comes from my mother, who grew up in

Palestine, Texas. I haven't re-checked as to whether she learned it from her

mother or grandmother, who were from Marshall.

My first Atlanta respondent said she thought her grandmother had used

the term for things like an unmatched sock, and other unmatched things.

--Rudy Troike (rtroike[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]