#AtoZChallenge 2020: M Is for Machine & Misconception


Yesterday I loved Nancy Drew. Today I love washing machines.

The latest model is a year old, and it’s still a minor miracle. It balances the load, pours in about a teacup of water, goes swish . . . swish . . . swish . . . and, when it’s finished, plays Schubert’s “The Trout.”


I intended to write more about washing machines, but I’ve decided instead to address a misconception related to my novel in progress: the use of the title Miss.

One of my characters, Miss Emma, is what used to be called a little old lady. She’s a widow with a forty-year-old son.

Two editors who’ve critiqued the early chapters have the character should be called Mrs. Emma, because Miss is reserved for unmarried women.


Miss is an all-purpose title. I understand the issue can be confusing, but I know whereof I speak:

Miss Ethel, Miss Edna, Miss Pearl, Miss Beulah, Miss Louise, and Miss Bessie were spinsters.

Miss Blanche, Miss Gladys, Miss Minnie, Miss Mamie, and Miss Cora were widows.

Miss Jessie, Miss Bettie, Miss Katie Maude, Miss Sammie, Miss Polly, Miss Carmen, Miss Essie, Miss Janie, Miss Lily, and Miss Sallie were married.

That’s all I have to say about that.


But one more thing about the washing machine.

4 thoughts on “#AtoZChallenge 2020: M Is for Machine & Misconception

  1. Calling someone “Miss ______” is a Southern thing. Regardless of the marital status, it’s “Miss” followed by the name. It used to upset Mary, now she just blows it off.

    We just bought a new washer. It doesn’t automatically balance the load or play “The Trout” when it’s finished, but Mary’s happy with it.

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  2. I’m glad to receive another Aye vote on the Miss thing. The comments from editors made me wonder if it was done just in my hometown, which was minuscule and on the edge of the Southern half of Texas. I checked with my critique group, one of whom hails from Illinois, and they agreed with me. I wasn’t going to change it anyway. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

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