I thought my Grandfather coined the phrase Pennsyltucky and that I had simply absconded it from him. But it turns out that it is in widespread use. For those unfamiliar with the term or my use of it, I simply use the term to apply to the sections of Pennsylvania that look a lot like Kentucky. This would be the part of Pennsylvania I grew up in. Places like Shamokin, Coal Township, Mt. Carmel, Kulpmont, Pottsville, Ashland, Shenandoah, Frackville and Minersville. I use it mostly to represent the Anthracite Coal Region (Anthracite coal is "hard coal" as opposed to Bituminous or "soft coal" and in the U.S. is found exclusively in this region of PA), comprising Lackawanna, Luzerne, Columbia, Carbon, Schuylkill, and Northumberland County, Pennsylvania.
This area was settled by Polish, Irish, Italian, German, Russian, Welsh, Slovak, Ruthenian, Ukrainian, Hungarian, Slavic, and Lithuanian immigrants and the influence of these immigrant populations is still strongly felt in the region, with various towns possessing pronounced ethnic characteristics, unusual phrases and ethnic food. Still evident in the region are "patch towns", small villages affiliated with a particular mine. These small towns, with populations typically less than 500, were solely owned by the mine; the resident miners were tenants, the general store was owned by the mining concern, and police were mine employees whose most prominent charge was to protect the coal from theft by the residents. Though no longer company owned, many such hamlets survive and contribute to the sense of Appalachia one feels when visiting the area.
But back to Pennsyltucky. While I use it to refer to the Anthracite Coal Region, it is more widely used to refer to the parts of Pennsylvania not being Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. There is a saying about Pennsylvania... you have Philadelphia on one side, Pittsburgh on the other and a whole lot of Alabama in between. That whole lot of Alabama part would be Pennsyltucky.
A search of Pennsyltucky on Google lead me to some interesting sites:
Urban Dictionary - defines Pennsytucky as a place where it is considered 'gauche' to marry outside your immediate family, where you are required to own at least two off-road vehicles, where if you have a firm grasp of the English language you are considered a homosexual and where non-whites are severely frowned upon as are people with their own identity, thoughts and more than three books in their home.
Pennsyltucky Politics Blog - The Harrisburg Patriot-News even has a blog dedicated to political issues affecting Pennsyltucky.
tribe.net - has a tribe for those who understand 'hayna,' 'jeetyet,' 'youzgize,' and 'cuppletootree,' born n' raised, escaped, still there? attended school? just drove through?
Pennsyltucky.com - who besides selling t-shirts (OK, only two shirts but they are cool) describes Pennsyltucky in the following way:
If you are from Pennsyltucky it's likely that:
- You've experienced the first day of buck season and the first day of the State Fair as school holidays.
- You can use the phrase "fire hall wedding reception" without batting an eye.
- You know what a State Store is. And your out-of-state friends find it incredible that you can't purchase liquor at the mini-mart.
- You own only three condiments: salt, pepper and Heinz ketchup.
- The words hoagie, crick, chipped ham, sticky buns, shoo-fly pie, pirogues and pocketbook actually mean something to you.
- You have not only heard of Birch Beer, you know it comes in colors: Red, White, Blue, Brown, Gold.
- You've never been to a wedding without hearing the "Chicken Dance," at least one Polka and either an Italian song (sung in Italian) or "Hava Nagila."
- You know several places that serve Scrapple, Summer Sausage, Lebanon Bologna or Hot Bacon Dressing.
- You live for summer, when street and county fairs--and downashore--signal the beginning of funnel cake season. And you know what funnel cake and downashore mean.
- You've heard diner customers ask the waitress for "drippy eggs" for breakfast.
- You know several people who have hit a deer more than once.
- You carry jumper cables in your car and know how to use them and you still keep kitty litter, starter fluid, de-icer and a snow brush in your trunk, even if you live in the South.
- Driving in the city is always better in winter because the potholes are filled with snow.
- As a kid you built snow forts and leaf piles that were taller than you were.
- You know how to respond to the question " 'jeetyet?" (Did you eat yet?)
- "Youse guys" and "ynz" are perfectly acceptable ways to address a group of men and women.
Speaking of being from Pennsyltucky, it appears from my web stats that I have a somewhat regular reader from Coal Township, which is essentially my hometown. Feel free to say hello. I am curious to know who you are and how you found my blog.