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Ms. Angel has a new job.  She no longer works in our classroom.  She has passed the required college courses and is now a substitute teacher.

David calls Ms. Angel’s replacement, “Aunty.”  That is the generic honorific women here in Hawaii  are called by instead of “ma’am”. The thing is, Ms. Angel’s replacement is Mr. Jim.  David can’t seem to manage Mr. Jim or “Uncle” (which is what the other kids call Jim) so Jim just answers, he says that is easier than confusing David.

At lunch on Friday Jim was standing over the table waving his arms.  He had napkins flapping between his fingers as he tried to keep the flies off the food (the lunchroom doors were open).   Suddenly several napkins fluttered away.  As I picked them off of plates I asked, “So, is this your version of the dance of the seven veils?”

David said, “Aunty, open my milk please.”

Jim reached down, grabbed the milk carton and proceeded to open it.  To me he said, “That’s a woman’s dance!  Do you really think it would suit me?”

Jim is a handsome, nineteen year old Hawaiian boy who stands over six feet tall and has shoulders about three feet wide.  There is nothing delicate, petite or Fatima-like about him.  I looked at the milk carton in his hands, shrugged my shoulders and said, “I don’t know, Aunty, it just might.”

Jim looked startled, glanced at the milk carton and knelt down so he was eye-to-eye with David, “Say, Uncle –“

Quilly is the pseudonym of Charlene L. Amsden, who lives on The Big Island in Hawaii. When she is not hanging out with Amoeba, she is likely teaching or sewing. Or she could be cooking, taking photographs, or even writing. But if she's not doing any of that, she's probably on Facebook or tinkering with her blog.


  1. and? did david learn to call him uncle?
    from what you’ve told us ‘aunty’ jim may yet be fun

  2. Polona — nope. David just looks really confused and frustrated, and corrects Jim. Aunty!. I think OC figured out the problem. David doesn’t realize the word is gender specific (special ed, remember). He is using it to replace “teacher” rather than each person’s name.

  3. Could be worse, there were times when my son called my by my dog’s name! He has also called me by his teacher’s name. Doesn’t happen all the time though as David calls Jim ‘Aunty’. Good post today as always!

  4. Lori — well, at least when your son lcalls you by the dog’s name you are assured that he’s confused you with something he loves.

    Donna — yeah, it made perfect sense when he shared the observation.

  5. Kat — I was so impressed that a 19 year old boy was secure in being called Aunty — until he realized some of his coworkers were going to mercilessly torture tease him about it.

  6. LOL! Poooooor Jim! He’s going to develop an identity crisis at 19! … oh wait… that would make him no different from any OTHER 19 year old…

  7. Melli — actually, I am very impressed by how secure Jim is. He’s decided to go with the teasing. Today when I referred to him as Mr. Jim, he corrected me, “Hey! That’s Aunty Jim to you!”

  8. Hehehe Good on Jim!
    Hubby was often called Uncle Helen instead of his first name by our nieces. They knew he “belonged” to me and I was Auntie Helen, so it was logical in their minds.

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