Thanks to Pee Wee Stevens for e-mailing this in:
I haven't thought about "fender skirts" in years. When I was a kid, I considered it such a funny term. Made me think of a car in a dress.
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." Since I'd been thinking of cars, my mind naturally went that direction first. Any kids will probably have to find some elderly person over 50 to explain some of these terms to you.
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."
I'm sad, too, that almost all the old folks are gone who would call the accelerator the "foot feed."
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?
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.
"Coast to coast" is a phrase that once held all sorts of excitement and now means almost nothing. Now we take the term "worldwide" for granted.
On a smaller scale, "wall-to-wall" was once a magical term in our homes In the '50s, everyone covered his hardwood floors with, wow, wall-to-wall carpeting! Today, everyone replaces their wall-to-wall carpeting with hardwood floors.
When's 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
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.
It's hard to recall that this word was once said in a whisper - divorce." And no one is called a "divorcee" anymore. Certainly not a "gay divorcee." Come to think of it, confirmed bachelors" and "career girls" are long gone, too.
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."
Here's a word I miss -- "percolator." That was just a fun word to say. And what was it replaced with? "Coffeemaker." How dull. Mr. Coffee, I blame you for this.
I miss those made-up marketing words that were meant to sound so modern and now sound so retro. Words like "DynaFlow" and "ElectraLuxe." Introducing the 1963 Admiral TV, now with "SpectraVision!"
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 their kids with castor oil anymore.
Some words aren't gone, but are definitely on the endangered list. The one that grieves me most -- "supper." Now everybody says "dinner." Save a great word. Invite someone to supper. Discuss fender skirts.
Thanks to Ron Findley for e-mailing this in:
Stroll with me.... close your eyes.... and go back...... way back!
I'm talking about sitting on the curb, sitting on the stoop... about hide-and-go-seek; Simon Says, and red-light-green-light. Lunch boxes with a thermos ... chocolate milk, going home for lunch, penny candy from the store, hopscotch, butterscotch, skates with keys, jacks and Cracker Jacks, hula hoops and sunflower seeds, wax lips and mustaches, Mary Jane's, saddle shoes and Coke bottles with the names of cities on the bottom.
Remember when it took five minutes for the TV to warm up.
When nearly everyone's Mom was at home when the kids arrived home from school.
When nobody owned a purebred dog.
When a quarter was a decent allowance.
When you'd reach into a muddy gutter for a penny.
When your Mom wore nylons that came in two pieces.
When all of your male teachers wore neckties and female teachers had their hair done everyday and wore high heels.
Remember running through the sprinkler, circle pins, bobby pins, Mickey Mouse Club, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Kookla, Fran and Ollie, Spin and Marty...Dick Clark's American Bandstand ... all in black and white and your Mom made you turn it off when a storm came.
When around the corner seemed far away, and going downtown seemed like going somewhere. Climbing trees, making forts, backyard shows, lemonade stands, cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians, staring at clouds, jumping on the bed, pillow fights, ribbon candy, angel hair on the Christmas tree, Jackie Gleason, white gloves, walking to the movie theater, running till you were out of breath, laughing so hard that your stomach hurt...remember that?
Not stepping on a crack or you'd break your mother's back ... paper-chains at Christmas, silhouettes of Lincoln and Washington, the smells of school, of paste and Evening in Paris.
What about the girl who dotted her i's with hearts? (that was before that stupid smiley face)!
The Stroll, popcorn balls and sock hops?
Remember when there were just two types of sneakers for girls and boys - Keds and PF Flyers, and the only time you wore them at school was for gym. And the girls had those ugly gym uniforms.
When you got your windshield cleaned, oil checked, and gas pumped, without asking -- all for free -- every time! And, you didn't pay for air either, and you got trading stamps to boot!
When laundry detergent had free glasses, dishes or towels hidden inside the box.
When it was considered a great privilege to be taken out to dinner at a real restaurant with your parents.
When the worst thing you could do at school was flunk a test or chew gum. And the prom was in the gym or the lunchroom and you danced to a real orchestra. When they threatened to keep kids back a grade if they failed -- and did!
When being sent to the principal's office was nothing compared to the fate that awaited the student at home.
Basically, we were in fear for our lives, but it wasn't because of drive-by shootings, drugs, gangs, etc. Our parents and grandparents were a much bigger threat!
But we survived because their love was so much greater than the threat.
Remember when a '57 Chevy was everyone's dream car -- used to cruise, peel out, lay rubber, scratch off or watch the submarine races?
When people went steady; and girls wore a class ring with an inch of wrapped Band-Aids, dental floss, or yarn coated with pastel-frost nail polish so it would fit their finger.
When no one ever asked where the car keys were because they were always in the car, in the ignition, and the car and house doors were never locked!
Remember lying on your back on the grass with your friends and saying things like "That cloud looks like a..." And playing baseball with no adults needed to enforce the rules of the game.
Remember when stuff from the store came without safety caps and hermetic seals, because no one had yet tried to poison a perfect stranger.
Remember Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, Laurel and Hardy, Howdy Dowdy and The Peanut Gallery, The Lone Ranger and Tonto, The Shadow Knows, Roy and Dale, Trigger and Buttermilk, Nellie Belle... As well as the sound of a real mower on Saturday morning, and Summers filled with bike rides, baseball games, bowling, visits to the pool... and eating Kool- Aid powder with sugar from the palm of your hand.
There, didn't that feel good? Just to lean back and say: "Yeah...I remember......."
Live Well, and Laugh Often
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