Not on your tintype or in a month of Sundays

Jun 6, 2023 | 3 comments

Dad (William Woodworth Little) and Me (Sydney Medora Little) – 1937

I can’t remember who said what yesterday, but whoever and whatever it was (or they were) prompted my rather adamant thought:  “Not on your tintype!”  Wow!  Where did THAT come from?  It’s an expression my dad used occasionally but I hadn’t thought of it in years — probably not in a month of Sundays.

I Googled “tintype” which resulted in a refresher course in early photography but I quickly back-tracked to old expressions which were once everyday sorts of things and that you don’t hear much any more.

“Billy” – My dad at seven years old – 1916

Not since “Hector was a pup,” actually.  Little did I know that Hector referred back to the Trojan War god who children at the turn of the 20th century studied about in school.  Apparently Hector was, in more modern parlance, “one cool dude” and young boys often named their dogs after him.  Who knew?  Again, that’s an expression my father sometimes used and, since he was born in 1910, the timing is about right.

Another of Dad’s expressions (usually used after a rich and delicious dinner) was, “I’ll see my Aunt Mariah tonight!”  There was no doubt in my mind that he thought he’d have the gollywobbles and it simply never occurred to me to ask who Aunt Mariah was.  As far as I know, she wasn’t anyone related to us.

Mom and Dad (Dale and Bill Little) – 1982-ish

And so last evening passed in a series of reveries about old-fashioned expressions and thoughts of my dad and gentler (or at least more gentlemanly) times.  Not a bad way to spend a few hours,  if truth be told.


  1. Caroline Miller

    I always wandered about Mrs. Calabash. You may remember? Jimmy Durante always ended his public appearances withn “Good night Mrs. Calabash, wherever your are.”

  2. Bruce Jones

    The way I heard it, Jimmy wanted to say a good tie to his wife at the end of his show, but the network said “no, no good nights to wives on this network” so he started saying Mrs. Calabash, and they didn’t know how to say no.

  3. Robert O Gwinn

    Wonderful post. I used to hear many of those old sayings but did not think much about them or their meaning. So, is “A month of Sundays” 30 Sundays or 1 month of 4 or 5 Sundays?


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