Monday, May 19, 2014


I am indebted to a friend, Lovable Lorinda, for forwarding the following on to me today.  I know not who the true author is but I enjoyed it.  I hope you do.

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  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.'  Many today do not even know what a clutch is or that the  dimmer switch  used to be on the floor.  For that matter, the starter  was down there too.
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.  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. Go figure.  

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.' 

Speaking of female items, nobody talks about 'housedresses' any more.  All the ladies wore them.  Nobody wore slacks or 'blue jeans' except if you were a farmer.

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 miss those made-up marketing words that were meant to sound  so modern and now sound so retro.  Words like  'Dyna Flow' and 'Electrolux' and 'Frigidaire.'  Introducing the 1963 Admiral TV, now  with  'Spectra Vision!'
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.


Jager said...

When I was in the 5th grade, 1955. The old man was so excited to have our new Zenith 21 inch TV with the SUPER X chassis delivered. The entire neighborhood came over and their eyes bugged out at the size of that TV. We even had an electric device that pointed or antenna in the direction of the station, it had a dial with a compass looking thing on the top....woo woo. I didn't have to climb on the roof anymore to get WDAY.

joeh said...

I remember most of this stuff. Great observations, fun post!

I still call it the emergency brake. We always called our refrigerator an Ice Box, just a carry over I guess.

Phil Perisich said...

We had an ice box and an ice man who delievered the blocks of ice. Our ice man had a horse drawn wagon and huge arms. It took great courage of our little gang of 5 year olds to steal ice slivers off his wagon.

Keith Harris said...

A starter on the floor was what made crank handles obsolete! And who remembers when a wireless had knobs and speakers?

azttttommy said...

In the mid 50s, my father made me a crystal set. I'd listen with the headphones ne brought home from the war (he flew B-24s).

Steve said...

Enjoyed the post. Days gone by. My Dad had a 55 Buick. It had a button in the floor board that you could step on to change the radio channel.

Lowandslow said...

I remember all of these, except riding on the running boards of Dad's car. "Super" post. :)


Pearl said...

We still have supper and dinner in Minnesota. :-)

The term "foot feed", though. Ahhh. That brought me back. My grandpa said that, and I don't think I've heard it since he passed...

"Rat fink" reminded me of my dad's offer to punch some guy in the "snot locker". Ewww. That one always got to me...


Should Fish More said...

How about the push-pull knob on the dash with a C on it? Pull it, push the starter that was next to the gas pedal, slowly push it back in.
My dad called the handle on the steering wheel a 'thumb breaker'.
Nice post, alas I remember all of them very well.

Judy said...

Great post! That brought back memories for sure.

Stephen Hayes said...

This is one of your best posts. My dad always called it "supper" instead of dinner, and I could tell my grandpa had arrived on our street because I could hear the curb feelers on his car scratching against the curb in front of our house. Do you remember when movie theaters had curtains that opened and closed when movies began and ended? Do you remember when you actually placed gloves in the glove compartment of your car?

Keith Harris said...

It was once common to see 4 gallon fuel cans strapped to running boards, particularly for longer journeys when gas stations were few and far between.

Thérèse said...

Food for the mind as you say and funny enough that's most of the words I see in your post are the ones I learnt when going to school and learning English and that I never used because I never heard them around...
But the "emergency brakes" is something I still hear when I get in a car where the "emergency brake" is a pedal on the floor easier to reach for an older person I presume...
A post I will copy and keep... :-)