“It was my first introduction to damn Yankees,” my oldest sister remarked of her first semester at James Madison University in the fall of 1982. It was here, at this university nestled in the mountains of Virginia and named after one of the state’s most famous sons, that her Northern dormitory suite-mates were horrified by such flagrant abuse of their delicate and enlightened sensibilities.
My sister’s crime? Being unapologetically Southern. See, she had not only hung on the wall an ornamental Derringer handgun, which these Pennsylvania and Jersey girls chirped would surely be the death of them, but she had the brazen balls – of which many a Southern belle are known to figuratively possess – to also quietly display a huge Confederate Battle Flag beside her bed.
These white chicks from up yonder were aghast at my sister’s pride of home and heritage, unsubtly disapproved of her accent, and were repelled by her refusal to take down the violent weapon or the Confederate symbol of hate. The audacity! Doesn’t that hayseed know her place? Doesn’t she know we’re offended? And why doesn’t she care that we’re shunning her?
“[Yankees] are pretty much like Southerners – except with worse manners, of course, and terrible accents.” — Author Margaret Mitchell
And their ironic position of attending a Southern institution named after the man who penned the Constitution and then calling racists the very people who fought and died and sacrificed to try to uphold those principles didn’t register with these miseducated youngsters. Who needs history when you have Yankee sanctification, right?
Just think if these crass carpetbaggers were smart enough to know that it was actually a Derringer which John Wilkes Booth used to shoot…