A trip down Memory Lane … courtesy of reader Dick Tracy – and yes, that’s his real name.
• 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. 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’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 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 “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.
Dixie Redfearn can be reached at 477-4238 or by e-mail at email@example.com, or by fax at 477-4292.
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