"Aunt Daisy"

Elaine Ramshaw elaine1 at snet.net
Fri Oct 10 04:54:05 CEST 2008

On the siblings-marrying-siblings front: I am pleased to find out what the
reason is behind the Greek legal prohibition. But I myself have never gone
along with the idea that Daisy is HD&L's father's sister. As Rosa himself
allowed, the fact that the kids call her "Aunt Daisy" may not mean anything.
In the 1950's in this country children often called their parents' close
friends "Aunt First-name" or "Uncle First-name" as a polite form of address
that was less formal than "Mrs./Mr. Last-name." (Nowadays most American kids
call their parents' adult friends by their first names, but that would not
have been thought proper in my childhood.) I myself had an "Aunt Mary" who
was my grandmother's best friend. 

It occurs to me, in fact, that this form of address may have been confusing
to people who read the stories in translation, if the translation had the
kids calling her "Aunt Daisy" but that was *not* a form of address used by
children in that culture for unrelated friend-of-the-family adults. I have
heard, for instance, that in parts of Italy in the recent past kids used the
terms "godmother" and "godfather" for this purpose (to politely address
their parents' close friends, even if they weren't the kid's godparents).
(This came up in an interview of Mario Puzo, who said that he had created
"godfather" as a Mafia term out of this memory of using "godfather" as an
honorific for unrelated adults.) So if the Italian translation had HD&L
calling Daisy "Aunt Daisy" (that is, the literal equivalent of that in
Italian) that would have been misleading. And today, in fact, the use of
"Aunt Daisy" by the kids would be misleading even to American readers below
a certain age. They would think that Daisy must actually be related to the



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