Date: Tue, 28 Mar 1995 14:50:44 -0500
From: Heilan Yvette Grimes HEP2[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]AOL.COM
Subject: Re: Gesundheit!
Perhaps someone can explain for me this puzzle about Cincinnatians...when we
moved here years ago, I caught on to one of the local idiomatic expressions,
"Please?" for whenever a listener wished to have some-
thing repeated. I learned this term, which I had not heard where I grew up,
comes from the German way of speaking; Germans say, "Bitte?" in the same
Now, I've long wondered if this is so, why is it that they do NOT use the
term, "Gesundheit"? I can't remember hearing this term since moving to
Cincinnati just, "God Bless You" or "Bless You". I do remember hearing it,
from time to time growing up in the West. Nothing as frequent as an,
either/or occurence, but often enough to be aware that these were two
appropriate forms of expressing concern for another's soul possibly flying
of their mouth.
Has anyone come across any reason or research into this blatant disregard
the Teutonic concern for the souls of others?
leo_horishny[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]pol.com
I grew up in Hamilton! (they officially added the punctuation a few years
ago--as they claim the only town in the world with a punctuation mark as part
of its name), near Cincinnati (both towns founded by by several greats back
grandfather John Cleves Symmes and his partner Jonathan Dayton). You are
correct about the please/bitte connection. It came about from the influence
of the Over the Rhine area of Cincinnati. I was unaware about using please in
this manner not being universal. So, when I first moved to New England I had
gone to dinner with friends and had not heard the waitress and said,
"Please," so that she would know to repeat what she had said. But, she didn't
know that this is what it meant. Instead she said, "Okay, please our special
Gesundheit was used extensively when I grew up in that area (I have asthma
and heard it a lot).
By the way, did you ever read the book Vas You Ever in Zinzinnati? It gives a
lot of interesting information about the early German influence on Cincinnati
(at one point known as the pork capital of the world).
Also, did you know that the first shopping mall was in Cincinnati? Trollope's
(the English writer) mother deserted her family for a time (Trollope was
never the same after this) and moved on her own to Cincinnati and invented
the shopping mall. She then returned to England to hearth and home. But the
damage was already done (to little Trollope and society in general).
And, if you are in Cincinnati, you can visit the house where Harriet Beecher
Stowe actually wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin.