Folk speech
Stereotypes/Blason Populaire

Kutchky’s Army

The source’s mother grew up in Oak Park, Illinois, in a predominantly Italian neighborhood. Most of the families on her street didn’t have more than three children.

When she was growing up, her mother and a lot of the other people in the neighborhood had a saying, if they have a lot of something, they would say they have enough for Kutchky’s Army. So if they had a lot of food, for example, they’d say “We have enough food to feed Kutchky’s Army.” Growing up, the source’s mother always assumed it was a reference to a real army in a war.

However, it was really a reference to the one Polish family on the block that had at least ten children.

Now, neither the source, nor the mother live in Chicago, but its been adopted as a common saying inside the family, and their friends from back home in Chicago.

 

Chicago has been, and still is one of the most segregated cities in the country. I think the saying reflects the tension between established ethnic groups in certain neighborhoods, and newcomers from different ethnic backgrounds. The saying probably started as a way for the established Italian families in the neighborhood to playfully separate themselves from the Kutchky’s, who they probably saw as Polish interlopers.

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