I came across this
a book yesterday: "FENDER
(though it sounds like something Andy Rooney would
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."
Since I'd been thinking of cars, my mind naturally went that direction
first. Kids, you 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
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."
Didn't you ever wait at the street for your dad 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 "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. Go figure.
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 "DynaFlow" and "Electrolux."
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 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.
Someone forwarded this to me. I thought some of us of a "certain age"
would remember most of these. So, just for fun, Pass it along to others
of "a certain age."
© 2006, Jace Carlton. All International Rights Reserved.