Sorry, I’m a Yankee Doodle Mandy

Published 8:01 am Thursday, November 1, 2012

In honor of the those in New York and New Jersey dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, as well as my fellow co-worker and Yankee, Anna Phipps, I decided to pull out this old column about, what else, being a Yankee in the South.

When I lived in Charlotte I saw this news report that highlighted the cultural differences between the natives of the Charlotte area and those Northern invaders.

Of the things they covered on the news spot were those crazy Yankee drivers to taxes going up because the population boom from the Yankees.

“They are more aggressive than us,” said one southerner interview.

Ow! It hurt to hear it. Kind of like the mean little boy that sat next to you in kindergarten that like to flick your arm. In someway, I felt like smacking him in the nose and giving him the New York salute in true Yankee fashion.

Really? Were Yankees more aggressive than Southerners? Was that statement scientifically sound?

I could see it all, some Einstein looking scientist sitting in his top secret laboratory analyzing and calculating away with a Northern specimen on his right and a Southern sampling on his left.

“Ah, yes, the test results are clear,” he says in a moment of precision. “The Northern species contains a gene that allows the example to be belligerent. We shall have to classify the Yankee among the most deadly species on the planet.”

Growing up in New York, the only experience I had with a true Southerner (or so I thought was Southerner) was my Texan uncle by marriage.

Every once in awhile we would make a trip to the “Lone Star State” to see my aunt (Yankee born and bred), my cousins (half Yankees) and Uncle Bobby Joe Ritter (that Texan my aunt married).

Whether it was by plane or car, a small town in east Texas would actually have a Yankee population—for a couple of weeks at least.  I was too young to remember if we were stared at because of our accents, but I remember being extremely happy that I came home with a pink cowgirl hat.

Fast forward to today, I’ve learned that North Carolinians do not consider Texans as Southerners.

Wow, was that a disappointment. I realized the only thing I knew about the south was that it was warm and the people actually have manners.

So, let me introduce myself. Hello, my name is Amanda and I’m a Yankee. Therefore, I can issue these Yankee apologies.

I’m sorry we drive 100 miles per hour. When we have roads without three feet of snow covering them, we take advantage it. Oh, and we drive “c-ahs.”

I’m sorry we like pasta over potatoes. If we do eat potatoes, they’re made the Irish way.

And while I’m at it, I’m sorry we have good pizza.

I’m sorry we’re all not Northern. We’re either Irish, Scottish, Asian, Dutch, Italian, African, Polish, Yugoslavian, Romanian, Caribbean, Latino or Native etc., with an American slapped on the end. By the way we can be multiple of those, so never ask a Yankee what they are ethnically. You’ll be standing there forever.

I’m sorry we have a deposit on our SODA cans! Shoot me now Cal Bryant.

I’m sorry we’re impatient; we do not know what laidback is. It’s not in the Yankee Dictionary.

I’m sorry we make polenta out of corn grits.

I’m sorry we drink hot tea, even in the summer.

I’m sorry we have last names like VanDerBroek.

I’m sorry, but if you live in Michigan, you’re not a Yankee. You’re just a resident of a state shaped like a mitten.

I’m sorry we swear (or cuss). All of us, every man, woman, child and beast.

Yes, I’m sorry I have Yankee blood flowing through my veins. I don’t eat my “greens” and I still don’t know what hominy looks like, tastes like or what it is.

Heck, I couldn’t even spell it for this column at first.

Sorry, sorry, sorry. Who says Yankees don’t have manners?

Amanda VanDerBroek is a Staff Writer for the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. For comments and column suggestions email: or call (252) 332-7209.