|We had an enjoyable time camping with friends on the coast at Casper Beach. Casper Beach RV Park, south of Ft. Bragg and close to Mendocino is a beautiful campground located in a protected cove nestled below high cliffs that block buffeting from coastal winds.
On one of our jaunts, taking a wrong turn when the Coast Highway took a hard right over a bridge, we wound up in Boonville. We didn’t notice the sign and the road went straight with no indication that it was a different road. I had been in Boonville before to quench my curiosity about a quaint local language.
Boonville is located in the Anderson valley about 100 miles north of San Francisco up Highway 101, then about 25 miles west. What makes the place unusual is a folk language invented by the residents in the late 1800’s called “Boontling”, a language now spoken only by Boonville old-timers (“codgy kimmies”) and some history buffs.
In Boonville, my “eeldom” asked for “forbes” to buy a “gano”. Our friends wanted to know where the “typing moshe” was and my wife wanted to know where the “rudy nebs” was located.
We stopped at a “chigrel nook” (convenience store or literally, “food room”), were my wife bought an apple (gano) with the 50 cents (forbes). Our friends found the restroom (typin moshe) and my wife got a drink from a drinking fountain (rudy nebs). The word “chigrel” and “forbes” are a reshaping of “chew gruel” and “four-bits”.
A revealing note at this point is that the Boontling word for marriage is “locked”…
The reference to “rudy nebs” is interesting because there was an 1800’s comic strip named “Rudy Nebs” in which a well of pure water was mentioned. A local boy painted the name on an early day Boonville water well.
We had lunch then took another road out of Boonville that ended at Elk on the Coast Highway, the home of “ab gormers”
A rivalry existed between valley people and coast dwellers. Valley folk were called “squirrel bacon” so they retaliated by calling coastal folk “ab gormers” (abalone eaters).
I certainly suffer from a fascination about the place and on this trip I bought a book, “Boontling, an American Lingo by Charles C. Adams. Hopefully, this new found knowledge will not lead to excessive writing about Boonville in this journal. Guess I’ll have a “horn of zeese” (cup of coffee) and think about it.
Oh...don't take this journal entry too literally, I dramatized just a little in demonstrating the lingo...