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Friday, January 29, 2010


I know some of you will not understand this message, but I bet you know someone who might.

I came across this phrase yesterday. 'FENDER SKIRTS.'

A term I haven't heard in a long time, and thinking about 'fender skirts' started me thinking about other words that quietly disappear from our language with hardly a notice like 'curb feelers.'

And 'steering knobs.' (AKA) 'suicide knob,' 'neckers knobs.'

Since I'd been thinking of cars, my mind naturally went that direction first..

Any kids will probably have to find some older person over 50 to explain some of these terms to them.

Remember 'Continental kits?' They were rear bumper extenders and spare tire covers that were supposed to make any car as cool as a Lincoln Continental.

When did we quit calling them 'emergency brakes?' At some point 'parking brake' became the proper term. But I miss the hint of drama that went with 'emergency brake.'

Often times years ago, the car brakes didn't always function well because of negligent maintence, so the emergency brake would be used in its place to stop the car. During the war, many cars became what was known as a 'clunk' because it was nearly worn out or just let go due to lack of repair parts since metal was scraped for war use.

I'm sad, too, that almost all the old folks are gone who would call the accelerator the 'foot feed.' Many today do not even know what a clutch is or that the dimmer switch used to be on the floor.

Didn't you ever wait at the street for your daddy to come home, so you could ride the 'running board' up to the house? Often times a hitch hiker would ride on the running board to where ever they were goind just down the road.

The running board was also a place to tie on over sized items to take to the store. Often times the egg case would be tied to the running board to take the eggs to sell.

Here's a phrase I heard all the time in my youth but never anymore - 'store-bought.' Of course, just about everything is store-bought these days. But once it was bragging material to have a store-bought dress or a store-bought bag of candy. We felt really special and GOOD to wear a store bought dress! Hand me downs were often the case. Home made was more often what we wore....and yes, made out of feed sacks....sometimes more than one sack was bought to have enough material for a garment. These were 100% cotton, dyed, and would fade out more quickly when hung out in the sun to dry, so Mother turned colored clothes wrong side out, plus hung them in the shade if at all possible.

'Coast to coast' is a phrase that once held all sorts of excitement and now means almost nothing. Now we take the term 'world wide' for granted. This floors me.

On a smaller scale, 'wall-to-wall' was once a magical term in our homes. In the '50s, everyone covered his or her hardwood floors with, wow, wall-to-wall carpeting! Today, everyone replaces their wall-to-wall carpeting with hardwood floors.

I was thinking of this the other day!

When was the last time you heard the quaint phrase 'in a family way?' It's hard to imagine that the word 'pregnant' was once considered a little too graphic, a little too clinical for use in polite company, so we had all that talk about stork visits and 'being in a family way' or simply 'expecting.'

Those with scruples NEVER talked about being in the family way in front of the opposite sex. It was just unheard of or you were looked down on for your lack of couth.

Apparently 'brassiere' is a word no longer in usage. I said it the other day and my daughter cracked up. I guess it's just 'bra' now. 'Unmentionables' probably wouldn't be understood at all.

I always loved going to the 'picture show,' but I considered 'movie' an affectation.

Most of these words go back to the '50s, but here's a pure '60s word I came across the other day 'rat fink.' Ooh, what a nasty put-down!

Here's a word I miss - 'percolator.' That was just a fun word to say. And what was it replaced with 'Coffee maker.' How dull... Mr. Coffee, I blame you for this.

I saw a percolator for sale the other day with the comment, 'like the ones sold years ago.' I still have one given to us as a wedding present in 1961 and it works!

I miss those made-up marketing words that were meant to sound so modern and now sound so retro. Words like 'DynaFlow' and 'Electrolux.' Introducing the 1963 Admiral TV, now with 'SpectraVision!'

Our preacher used to sell Electrolux vacuums and Mother and Dad bought one after much contemplation. They knew he was newly married and needed the money, and wanted to help him out.

Food for thought. Was there a telethon that wiped out lumbago? Nobody complains of that anymore. Maybe that's what castor oil cured, because I never hear mothers threatening kids with castor oil anymore.

Some words aren't gone, but are definitely on the endangered list. The one that grieves me most is 'supper.' Now everybody says 'dinner.' Save a great word. Invite someone to supper. Discuss fender skirts.

Supper will always be what I eat for the evening meal. Dinner is the noon meal and lunch is something you take along in a paper sack to school, work or other wise while you are away.

Someone forwarded this to me. I thought some of us of a 'certain age' would remember most of these.

Just for fun, pass it along to others of 'a certain age.' :-)


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