Saturday, January 18, 2020

Sepia Saturday: I Swanny

Sepia Saturday challenges bloggers to share family history through old photographs.

My first thought when I saw this week’s Sepia Saturday prompt was, “Well, I swanny.” That is an expression I have heard my entire life. Is it just a Southern “thang”? Do people in other regions of the United States say it too?

Do people in Boston say “I swanny”? I can’t imagine. However, when in Boston, one must take a ride on the Swan Boats. It’s an iconic thing, a must do, like kissing the Blarney Stone when in Ireland. 
Wendy and Swan Boats 2007
Copied from my Boston Vacation scrapbook
Me 2007 at the Swan Boats
A cruise around the pond in the Public Garden was the first stop on a mother-daughter trip in 2007 with my younger daughter Zoe. 
View from our seat on the Swan Boat
The boats are a pontoon boat powered like a bicycle just as they were when first introduced in 1877. The driver sits on a paddlebox hidden by a fiberglass swan.

Yes, the Swan Boat ride is a bit corny, but it is a peaceful and pleasant way to spend 15-minutes.
Photo courtesy wikimedia commons
On our Rhine River cruise last May, we saw plenty of swans. As we headed into the locks, the swans wisely got out of our way. 
Swans on the Rhine 2019

The ducks? Not so much. They often were stuck in the locks with a couple of river boats and barges. That’s one way to migrate.
Ducks in a lock on the Rhine 2019
Ducks in a lock on the Rhine 2019
On a post-trip to Lucerne, we knew right away that the city loves swans. Near our hotel, the floral centerpiece of the median is a swan.
Median along Schweizerhofquai, Lucerne
 The REAL ones in Lake Lucerne were enchanting too.
Swans on Lake Lucerne 2019

Swan on Lake Lucerne 2019

Please visit the other bloggers at Sepia Saturday. How they find so many wonderful old photos and delightful stories is beyond me. I swanny!

© 2020, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.


  1. Thanks Wendy! Love the swan boats. I grew up outside of Boston and we went every spring when I was little

  2. Never heard of "I swanny" so I learned something new today! I would definitely have to go on one of those swan boats! Surely an adventure I do believe!


  3. My favorite here is the flower swan in the median. The Swiss clearly take their swans seriously!

  4. I was in Boston on a tour for 5 days and walked around the pond in the Public Garden and saw the Swan boats, but never took a ride on one. Not sure why? Probably not enough time between touring places elsewhere I guess. The boats do look charming on the pond, though. :)

  5. I imagine maybe my grandmother from Texas might have said a "I swanny" a few times. Myself, my family and friends (FL, NC, GA, TN) don't say it. I would think Andy Griffin would say it. So maybe I link it with rural people. Good to see swans everywhere!

    1. Oh I just remembered something (smack my forehead). There's the song "Way Down upon the Swanny (Suwany) River" about a real Florida River, popular about the turn of 1900s...or earlier. Wonder if that has a connection to "I swanny."

  6. I can't recall ever hearing that phrase "I sawnny", and I've mostly lived in the South including Virginia. Like Barbara I think it's connected to the song, but maybe it's a polite phrase for "I swear". As for swans, I've met some mean ones on the rivers of England and they are not to messed with.

  7. Oooh! A Rhine River Cruise? Well, that sounds amazing! It must have been so fun. Where did you stop along your cruise?

  8. Wish we had some swans here but maybe the alligators would attack them.

  9. I've never heard of I Swanny either.