Grandma’s Sayings

Old Photo - Coney Island

Oscar Teliz told me his grandmother used to say in Spanish, “No hay mal que dure cien anos, ni cuerpo que lo soporte” which is an obscure saying meaning, “No bad occurrence will last forever, and if it did, you wouldn’t be able to stand it anyway.”

My grandma always said, “What will be, will be.” In other words, “Don’t worry about it! The future will take care of itself.”

Feel free to share your grandmother’s sayings or words of wisdom with us in the comments below!

Mama Lisa

Photo: My grandparents – most likely at Coney Island in the early 1930’s.

This article was posted on Monday, October 19th, 2009 at 4:58 pm and is filed under Countries & Cultures, English, Grandma's Sayings, Languages, Mama Lisa, Proverbs, Sayings, Spanish, Spanish Proverbs, Uruguay, USA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

9 Responses to “Grandma’s Sayings”

  1. Uly Says:

    MY grandmother said that whatever petty complaint we had (an itch, a bruise, a cut) meant we’d be “dead in three days” and that if we’re hungry we should “eat the right hand, save the other for tomorrow”.

  2. Monique Says:

    I have one not PC from my great-grandma. She used to say “El que nace bajo una mala estrella, del cielo le cae mierda” =”He who was born under a bad star, s&*% falls down upon him from the sky/heavens”.

    My great-grandmother had a more PC one “El que nace bajo una mala estrella siempre va estrellado” = “He who was born under a bad star is always smashed”. In Spanish there’s the play on words “estrella/estrellado”. “Estrella” is a star, so you could think that the verb “estrellar” would be something like being shiny/sparkling/brilliant (something looking as beautiful as a star). “Estrellar” means smashed – usually it’s used in a reflexive way (estrellarse) = to smash oneself, to crash – I suppose because of the starry shape of things once they’ve been crashed/smashed.

    When we have an unexpected amount of money to pay and we wonder how we’ll manage, my mother usually says in French, “D’autres choses se sont payées, celles-là se paieront”. It means, “Other things were payed, those will be payed too”, meaning “you managed to pay other expenses, you will for those too”. Which doesn’t mean it will be easy but that it can be done.

  3. Lisa Says:

    Monique wrote: My grandfather would say in Spanish, “Nunca se ha visto a un loco tirar piedras a su tejado” = “Nobody ever saw a lunatic/mad man throw stones at his own roof”, meaning people never go against their own interests. He would also say, “Vale más pan duro que ninguno” = “Better have hard bread than none”.

    My mother still says, “No pidas a quien pidió ni sirvas a quien sirvió” = “Don’t ask who asked nor serve who served”. “Ask” in the sense of “beg” not “ask a question”, meaning that someone who once was in need and is now well off won’t probably give you anything even help, and someone who once was obliged to be someone else’s servant and is now well off will be a bad boss.

    We too were told “mange ta main et garde l’autre pour demain” when hungry at “undue” time. Meaning, “Eat your hand and save the other for tomorrow”.

  4. Monique Says:

    I also have one in both Occitan and Spanish, Oc. “Cada topin trapa son coberton” = “Every pot finds its own lid”, Sp. “Para cada olla hay su tapadera” = “For every pot there’s its own lid” that actually mean “there’s a boy for every girl” if you’re single and get desperate to find your Prince Charming. It works the other way round too for boys who didn’t meet their Sleeping Beauty yet.

  5. denise mirás Says:

    No hay mal que dure cien anos, ni cuerpo que lo soporte…
    In Portuguese you have another one (more optmistic, I think…):
    Não há bem que sempre dure, nem mal que nunca termine
    – something like:
    There is neither good that lasts forever nor evil that never ends

  6. Lisa Says:

    I like that Denise… it is optimistic and something to remember in troubling times.

  7. Lisa Says:

    I asked this question about people’s grandma’s sayings on our Facebook group and here’s what some said:

    Debbie Center: “Well, my maternal grandma was from Norway. She always used to groan and say ‘Uffda’! My paternal grandma was Jewish, more likely to say ‘Oy vey’. So to recognize both grandmas, sometimes I say ‘Oyffda!'”

    Jenny Mott: “I remember… Don’t play in the gutter!!!”

    Dale Allen Boland: “As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.”

    Sandra Divnick: “My grandmother would say, ‘When in doubt, don’t!’ — that kept me out of plenty of trouble, for sure!!”

    Jeremy Shatan: “My maternal grandmother had many sayings…here’s a few: ‘A little poison won’t kill you’ (when offering a treat); ‘There once was an owl who lived in an oak/the more he saw the less he spoke/the less he spoke, the more he heard/now, why can’t WE be like that wise old bird?’; ‘You’re a gentleman and a scholar, and a good judge of bad liquor’; ‘I had a date with a fig.’ And she loved to tell the story about the time she told Ginger Rogers (they were on the same cruise ship), ‘My forgettery is better than my memory,’ and Ginger said, ‘That’s good – I’m gonna use that!'”

  8. andre Says:

    People come into your life and people leave it… you just have to trust that life has a road mapped out for you

  9. Lisa Says:

    Monique sent this Spanish saying: “El diablo sabe más por viejo que por diablo.” = “The devil knows more from being old than from being the devil.”

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