My great-grandfather came here from Sweden some time around the turn of the 20th century. He married my great-grandmother in 1919, and they had five children; my grandma being their oldest child. He loved this country, and July 4th was his favorite holiday. Although he died before I was born, I know these things about him because I was told over and over again. That’s is how family traditions get passed from generation to the other. I also know that he never lost his heavy Swedish accent. This Words Crush Wednesday quote isn’t from him; however. It”s from his oldest son: my Uncle Walt.
I lived with my great-grandmother quite a bit when I was little. It was from her I heard many of the family stories that I have passed down to my own children. Several of those stories had something to do with Uncle Walt. When he was maybe three or four years old, he often spoke English with a Swedish accent, just like his daddy. Around the same time he had an Andy Gump truck. I have never seen the truck, the picture above is an Andy Gump car.
One day, Uncle Walt got into some mischief and Grandma started after him to spank him, tripped on the cast iron truck and stubbed her toe. You know it hurt like crazy! Uncle Walt, solemnly looked up at her and made the pronouncement:“Well, dahts what you get for doing daht!” Meaning she deserved to stub her toe because she was chasing him to punish him. Yeah, he got it worse after that.
Of course, the telling of it forty years later, was hysterically funy. The phrase stuck. Any number of us have been known to pronounce our own good-natured judgment of sorts, when someone’s behavior reaps undesired consequences. “Well, dahts what you get for doing daht!”
Uncle Walt went to be with the Lord last year at the age of 94, but I have a feeling that four-year-old Waldo Gustafson is going to be quoted for many generations to come.