My mom was proud to live in Rumson. As the daughter of a plumber and a maid who immigrated from Germany, she grew up in Long Branch, uptown on Broadway. She married a guy from Sea Bright with a chip on his shoulder who wanted to show her more. That meant Rumson. They crossed the bridge into town in the late 50s and started a family, my sister, and me.
Annabelle was an upbeat person who always saw the good in any situation, rarely complained, and had an enormous ability to put up with crap from my father. Throughout my life whenever my sister and I got down for some reason the first thing she would say was “Sweetheart.” From there would flow the sage advice or opinion.
I was down more than my sister, in fact, I was always down. (Karen didn’t have time for it, too much to do.) So I received more “Sweethearts” than my sister. Mom also referred to people she liked as Sweetheart.
I occasionally call women in my life Sweetheart, I often get a strange look when I do. Frequently, I get a comment telling about the proper way to address a woman. I have heard Sweetheart “is offensive”, or “condescending” to which I reply “bullshit.” If you’re that sensitive I have a few more things I can refer to you as if you like.
For me, Sweetheatheart is a legacy endearing word that comes from the only person I know who had a heart that had no depth too great, or end. I got it from her so be assured you’re in good company.