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"Fender skirts,' "supper' help kindle memories

(ran HE, CI editions)

A friend sent me the following humorous piece, which readers older than 50 may enjoy. The author is unknown:

Here's a great blast from the past _ fender skirts. 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." 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."

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.

"Wall-to-wall" was once a magical term in our homes. In the '50s, everyone covered their hardwood floors with, wow, wall-to-wall carpeting. Today, everyone replaces their wall-to-wall carpeting with hardwood floors. Go figure.

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 "expecting."

Apparently "brassiere" is a word no longer in use. 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.

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."

Whatever the moment, celebrate the past, live the present, and look forward to the future.

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