Growing up in Detroit, Michigan in the 1960s and 1970s, my Uncle Stan called me Les the Best, or sometimes Swee’ Pea (after the character in the Popeye The Sailor Man cartoon). If I wasn’t getting on my mother’s nerves she sometimes called me Sugar Lump; while Dad called me Shawty. Grandma Essie often shook her head at me and said I was too big for my britches. When I showed Uncle Colvin I knew how to do “The Temptation Walk,” he told Aunt Joni (whose nickname was Twink and pronounced Twank) that I sure could cut a rug! Raise cain was something my mother threatened to do in a department store or restaurant if a supervisor or manager had to be summoned; while a five-star compliment on someone’s delicious home-cooking required her to proclaim:  “you really put your foot in it!” Grandma Mary Elizabeth always excused herself to go to the bathroom by saying that she was going to see a man about a dog. On the school playground, me and my classmates gave each other five on the black hand side, and taught each other a dance called “The Watergate,” while Stevie Wonder’s “You Haven’t Done Nothin’” played in the background. I had been introduced to the public library early on, and few things rivaled my greedy desire to borrow stacks of books and escape into their worlds built of words. Teachers scolded me for daydreaming or talking too much in class. I decided to become a writer.  folklore & literacy is the 21st-century online incarnation of those early seeds. Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Ha! I remember hearing many of the expressions you cite here. Thankfully, not too much Cain and Able was raised in my childhood home, but it was mentioned. I also talked a lot in school, still do talk quite a bit. I believe communication is key. I’m glad I can now use it to inspire others, and have also learned the most appropriate time and place to do so.

    Am I “too big for my bitches?” My beloved Mother always thought so, but when she had a stroke I had to get gone before being placed in yet another foster home. I’ll bet she’d be glad to know that I could be grown when I needed to be.

    Another great share!

    1. So you recognize some of these expressions, eh? I wonder if you find yourself using “old expressions” without even thinking about it? I’m glad you could relate, Sparkyjen, and took that time to share comments.

  2. May I also say how proud of you I am, having known you since you were the little girl to whom you refer in your bio. I look forward to working with you to inspire more little girls and boys to write with confidence and passion, as you do.

    1. Bless you for visiting my blog site and leaving these heart-warming comments. It feels great to be remembered and recognized by someone who “knew me when…” Thank you, Mrs. Silverberg Master. Hugs!

    1. Hi Daphne – Count on you to cloak an interesting question inside a garment of what appears to be wonderful compliments! lol! Well, all I can say is that I am grateful to have readers. Many people who leave comments have blogs themselves. Being new to the blogging community, I am still in the learning curve. But I hope that anyone who reads my posts and finds reasons to comment will feel free to do so. xo, Leslie

  3. Well Leslie I’m so proud to welcome you to the family of bloggers. Your bio inspires me already and I can totally relate to all of what you wrote. Can’t wait for your first post!

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