I came across this phrase in a book yesterday: “fender skirts.”
I haven’t heard this term 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, such as “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 60 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.”
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 “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 hardwood floors with, wow, wall-to-wall carpeting! Today, everyone replaces 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”!
Here’s 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.
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.”