i A Time and a Place...: ''WHAT THE HECK IS A FENDER SKIRT''…

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


I got this little ditty in an e-mail today and it brought back some really nice memories. I think it's worth passing on.

I came across this phrase in a book 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." 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...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 "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.

When's the last time you heard the quaint phrase "in a family way?" It’s hard to imagine 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 the1963 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 and discuss fender skirts.



Blogger bigwhitehat said...

I'm barely 36. I don't have to have any of that explained to me. Was I born old?

7:14 PM  
Blogger sandy said...

Ah isn't progress wonderful? Now we also don't have many of those "drive in theatres" taking all that space we use for houses and apartments.

And how many carhops have you seen lately? How about A&W drivein's? I have some fond memories of Texas carhops and A&W drivein's

7:20 PM  
Blogger J C said...

When Donna was a youngster, she car-hopped on roller skates.

8:24 PM  
Blogger MonicaR said...

I loved A&W drive ins. That was a real treat when I was a kid. And they had the little tiny mugs for me and my little brother.

I didn't have any 'store-bought' clothes until 3rd grade. I was very excited about it!

Percolated coffee is still the best. One of my sisters has an old percolator - all dented up - but I love watching the coffee bubbling into that clear knob on the lid. I have to find one.

9:27 PM  
Blogger bigwhitehat said...

What? There is an A&W over on LBJ. And the sonic up the street has carhops on skates. California must be a different world.

Oh, I see. I wasn't born old. I was just born in Texas.

Jimbo, I have a quote you might like. I heard it a lot growing up. "Boy, you were vaccinated with a victrola needle."

2:16 PM  
Blogger CA said...

BWH: I hadn't heard that one before. It might account for my singing voice, from Nelson Eddy to Roy Orbison, to Elvis to Willy to Perry and all the Hanks,et al...

3:22 PM  

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