|Betty, Ramona and Ronald, Summer, 1950|
|Dad, Ron, Mom holding Leslie, Betty, left, Ramona right. Summer, 1954. (Note 14-yr-old Ron is almost as tall as Dad.)|
Whining may have been chief among the reasons Mom would give me a warning. "Why do I have to...."; "I don't want to..."; She's not doing her share...."; "It's too hot...(cold) (early) (late)". She would only have to say I was "breeding a scab on my nose" and I knew I'd better quit whatever I was doing to irritate her.
I do my share of reading English novels and I have often wondered why we whine and the English whinge. I assumed they were derivatives of the same word, but they are not. Whinge comes from Old English hwinsian: "to wail or moan discontentedly", while whine traces to an Old English verb hwinan: "to make a humming or whirring sound." When hwinan became whinen in Middle English, it meant to wail distressfully; whine didn't acquire its 'complain' sense until the 16th Century.
Whinge retains its original sense but now puts less emphasis on the sound of the complaining and more on the discontent behind the complaint. Whinge or whine, Mom would still be giving me the 'breeding a scab on your nose' warning.
I was lucky to have a Mother and two Grandmothers who had some kind of old saying for almost every situation. I just wish I could remember them all. And I wish someone could tell me the meaning of another one of their sayings: "Laugh before breakfast; cry before supper."