Thursday, 9 July 2015

St. Anthony, my brother Steve, and Annie.

In Roman Catholic mythology the Patron Saint for lost items and objects is St. Anthony of Padua. 

He is the one to whom you pray when you cannot find your glasses, your car keys, or your umbrella.

Such prayers always work, except that in my case Blessed Anthony has never been of any help when I have lost my wits.


In a recent e-mail from my (Bristol, U.K.)  brother Steve, he made reference to a local newspaper clipping which I'd asked him to mail to me.


He asserted that the clipping was "Up in Annie's room behind the wallpaper".

Oh my goodness, I had not heard that saying in  so many years.

Another version has it as "Up in Annie's room behind the clock".

"Up in Annie's room behind the wallpaper" is used in a broad variety of situations, in response to questions such as:

"Where is the cat?",  "Where is my sister?",  "Where is the T.V. remote?", "Where is that bill which I need to pay?", "Where is the newspaper clipping which I promised to mail to my brother?"

In fact, it's a saying which means, (with regard to something which is AWOL), "Who are you to ask, I don't know, and I am too lazy to care?"

It's a tongue in cheek and flip response. In that context, "behind the wallpaper" is much more obscure and silly than "behind the clock".


What is the origin of this phrase?

One website suggests that Annie was a servant girl, and that the missing object could be found in her room.

This seems unlikely to me.  There are all too many urban myths about faceless and nameless servant girls - including the "servant girl" stories about Mothering Sunday and Boxing Day.

Another website roots the saying in the trenches of World War One,  when a Tommy or a Digger might ask about the whereabouts of a comrade. The response, "Up in Annie's Room" could mean:

1. Mind your own business,

2. He is with a prostitute or a paramour.

3. He has bitten the dust.

The website offers no sources for the W.W. I  origin of the phrase.

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