Mrs. Cole was born and raised in a certain part of London, but has lived in the US nearly all of her adult life. Still, she has her accent -- when she says her name her lips make a perfect round O -- and I love to see her. Not only for the accent, but because she is A Character.
The first time I met her she came in absolutely ranting about the village's quarterly charge for refuse collection.
"Why, I never! In LONDON we never 'ad to pay a PENNY to have the trash collected. We putTit out and it wenTaway!"
Her jaw was dropped and her blue eyes were wide. Her thick brown and silver hair vibrated in a fat bun. Despite her outrage I could see that some of her bombast was simply for the fun of having her say. I went to the counter, stood to one side of Phyllis, who was taking the begrudged payment. I just wanted to watch. I love accents and I love characters, and I was delighted with this particular show. The third or fourth time she said something about how much better the London system was, I couldn't help myself . . . I offered: "Aaaaaaaaaaaaaa, but y'came 'EEEAH, DI'N'Tya?"
Her head whipped toward me, her face agape. I do believe she thought I was another import. If I had thought I would be able to maintain the dialect, I would've continued, but I couldn't do it.
She was in the other day to pay the same kind of bill. She had her pug dog with her and we had a lovely long chat about how wonderful dogs are.
"I wouldn' say this to EV'rybuddy, you know . . . but there ARE times when I like him BET'a' than I like the kids!" and she . . . chortled.
I do love to see Mrs. Cole. I replay our conversations for days afterward, trying to mimic her vowel sounds.
"I 'ad decided I wouldn' getTanother dog, because . . . after all . . . I'm AYTEE years old. But I saw him and I 'ad 'im named within thirty seconds!"
A woman after my own heart.