Why I Live at the P.O. Glossary

Why I Live at the P.O. Glossary


Carefully planned


A lie


An important event or moment in a person's life


Extremely angry


To talk about something, in particular, to spread secrets to others

Shirley Temple

A child star who was popular during the Great Depression, as she represented joy, hope and innocence in a time of hopelessness and despair

P. O.

An abbreviation for post office


A sexually promiscuous woman


Strong medicine typically available only with a doctor's written permission. In parts of the American South, this is also a code word for alcoholic spirits which were not available for purchase (or socially acceptable for use) except in a medicinal context


Consider or understand


Legally qualified


Very strange or out of the ordinary


A situation in which a husband or wife has left the marital home (or been thrown out); typically a prelude to a divorce and often a necessary first step in the legal process especially if there are children involved


An emotional tantrum characterized by a loss of temper and control


A female postmaster, or low-ranking government employee in charge of a post office

Napkin Ring

A ring or short tube, typically made out of wood, ceramic, or metal, designed to hold a rolled-up cloth napkin between meals. Each person in a family had his or her own napkin, and napkins were not washed every day, so to keep track of which napkin belonged to which person everyone had a particular napkin ring.

Cut on the bias

Cloth that is cut "on the bias" does not have the web or woof lining up vertically or horizontally, but is cut diagonally. This cutting technique maximizes the strength of the result but wastes fabric, so when Sister mentions that the kimono is cut "on the bias" she is noting that it is fancy and probably expensive.


Artificially created item (in this case a kimono) that looks ridiculous or impractical


Physically vulnerable and in danger of damage or injury, particularly by a fall


To assert the opposite of what somebody (generally a social superior) has said. Contradiction is generally considered rude according to Southern tradition, even if the person making the contradictory statement happens to be right.

Flanders Field

A World War I military memorial in Belgium, significant to Uncle Rondo because of his WWI military service


Play about with in a frivolous fashion


A woman's collection of linens and lingerie, accumulated prior to marriage and intended to help her start up a household as a married woman. The trousseau remains the woman's personal property and does not become the property of her husband. Stella-Rondo's trousseau is quite possibly the only thing of significant value she owns that is legally hers.


Displaying contempt through speech and facial expression


Likely or probable (not to be confused with "liable" meaning responsible or legally accountable)


An article of furniture such as a couch or sofa, designed for reclining and sometimes possible to convert into a bed

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