The Rain in Spain, #446


There are certain words in the English language that are too crude to even utter.  I was not permitted to use these words growing up… not for their definition, but for the mere timbre of how they felt spilling out of your mouth.  One of these forbidden words was “fart.”  Uggghhh….it’s even hard for me to write it out in this blog today!  My family’s alternate word for that action was “fuffy.”

As a teen, I could not understand why in the world my family had to invent another word to refine this already less than pleasing action, but now that I’m a parent, I must admit to all of you that I use the word “fuffy” with my kids, too.  Not to resort to “fuffy” humor today, but it is important for me to give you all this background in order to explain the funniest moment ever last night.

I was reading to my daughter as I put her to bed.  She has been learning all about children’s author Tomie De Paolo in school, so I just bought her his book “Strega Nona.”  (It’s a fabulous children’s book if you don’t know it.)  My daughter loves reading the dedication page in books, and often, we discuss these brief mentions as we read together.  Before I realized what I was reading last night, I had spoken the words “To Franny and Fuffy,” as we were leafing through the first pages of “Strega Nona.”  “FUFFY!!!!!!!!!!!!,” my daughter shrieked!!!!!!!!!!  This laughter that we shared at this moment of realization was the kind that is gut splitting.  It is the kind that brings tears to your eyes, and it is the kind when you can’t catch your breath and words are unable to escape from your lips.  It lasted for a good 20 minutes before either of us were able to settle down.  Goodness!  I haven’t laughed that hard in a gazillion years!  It was such a great moment that it is the one I had to write about today.  I loved sharing huge laughter with my little girl even if it was over the word “fuffy.”

It ends up, that “Fuffy” was one of Tomie De Paolo’s twin cousins, and her given name is Kathryn Abbe.  She is a famed photographer and even has a website: I’m sure she doesn’t go by the name Fuffy anymore, and I wonder if she was ever teased for it.  Really…we can’t be the only family to have used fuffy as a replacement, could we?

So, my song of the day today is from the musical “My Fair Lady.”  I thought “The Rain in Spain” would be perfect for this blog, because it is all about refining speech.  Click HERE to see the famous scene with Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison.  On a side note, Audrey Hepburn, though she had a lovely voice, is lip-syncing this song.  The studio executives felt Marnie Nixon’s voice was more well suited for the role, and so Hepburn was overdubbed with the Nixon’s voice….a controversial move that is not commonly repeated today.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thursday, and perhaps filled with a bit of “fuffy” humor and shared moments of laughter with you loved ones!


3 responses »

  1. Fuffy was called that because her twin sister Frannie couldn’t pronounce Kathryn. She does still go by that name and is a dear family friend of ours. My dad had used them both for commercial work and they became friends afterwards.

    • Oh! You just made my night by giving me a bit of the history! My real name is Julie, and my brother called me Boolie because he couldn’t pronounce the name. My nickname has stuck, too, and when I go back to visit my family in Ohio, I am Julie Boolie. I bet a lot of children get their nicknames that way. Please share our story with Fuffy. It is a great name, and “Strega Nona” is one of our very favorite books to read together.

      • Will be sure to do that if I see her. Fuffy is quite elderly but a cherished family friend. She still does a bit of photography. Her late husband Jimmy was a well known Vogue photographer and the son of an even more famous photographer. She has a house on the ocean in Amagansett and one in Old Brookville. Her twin sister also married a Vogue photographer, Leslie Gill, who died young. Both had worked as assistants at Vogue. They had some very interesting friends as well i.e. Irving Penn for one was there frequently. Frannie and Fuffy were from Wallingford and related to the Kennedy family as I recall, very proper and the name never had the connotation you associate with it.

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