“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language And next year’s words await another voice.”

Yesterday and today have been delightful days and last night was cool, low 60’s cool. Today is sunny with a sharp light. The sky is dark blue and cloudless. Tonight will be in the low 60’s again. It is my first movie night of the season. The War of the Worlds, the original with Gene Barry, is on the big screen. We’re having hot dogs and chorizo and a salad or two. We’ll munch a few appetizers beforehand and have candy and popcorn for the movie. I love movies on the deck.

I do a crossword puzzle everyday. Some of the clues and answers are anachronisms. One of the Bobbsey twins is a frequent clue. The answer is always Nan, twin to Bert. Today Look-alike was the clue. The answer was carbon copy. I have no memory of the last time I used carbon to copy anything. I do remember using them years and years ago when I taught, and I remember how the kids always smelled the papers when they got them. They had a peculiar smell from the carbon. I think carbon copy for many people will have to come from the clues around it. Card catalog was another answer, but the clue acknowledged it no longer exists: Part of a library once. My mother would sometimes but not often yell, “Ash truck,” so we would hurry to get the trash barrels out. The need for haste brought back a place in time, a childhood memory. My dad always called the cleaners the cleansers, a word also dating from his childhood. We always knew what he meant.

Words and phrases are born then fall out of usage and finally disappear. I remember having Chinese fire drills at red lights. I still call a bottle opener, the simple metal one, a church key. Police were heat and then pigs. I remember, “Oink, oink I smell bacon,” when police were around. Submarine races were popular viewing except they didn’t exist. I can’t remember the last time I said groovy or when I last rapped with anybody.

My dad would call someone a good egg. My sisters say it now and then in a deep voice like my dad’s just for the memory. I remember heebie-jeebies and ants in my pants, neither of which I get any more.

I grew up outside of Boston. Wicked good is common. I still use it all the time. That one, I think, will never fade and disappear.

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14 Comments on ““For last year’s words belong to last year’s language And next year’s words await another voice.””

  1. olof1 Says:

    A really nice day here today, sunshine most of the time and warm but not hot. The morning however was rather cold, only 45F But the sun shone and as long as one walked in the sunshine it was nice 🙂

    Yes all those words that we no longer use and kids today never even heard.Even though many of the words in my Gothenburg dialect actually is used in all the country now days.

    Yes the old War of the Worlds are a good one but I just can’t stand the one with Tom Cruise. He’s doing a good job but I just can’t stand the girl playing his daughter. She screams all the time and I sit there and wish the Marsians finally will kill her so we don’t have to see her again 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Have a great day!
    Christer.

    • katry Says:

      Christer,
      That was similar to our morning but you were a bit colder. I would have like that temperature. I love cold mornings leading the way to warmer afternoons.

      It is true. My sister will say something and her kids will question the word. They are not young, two are in their 30’s, but the words had disappeared from usage.

      Dakota Fanning also drove me crazy in that movie. You are so right; all she seemed to do was scream. Maybe Tom should have left her in that Martian contraption.

      Have a wonderful evening!

  2. Birgit Says:

    Learning American English with KTCC 🙂
    Have a great deck movie night and greet the Martians!

    • katry Says:

      Birgit,
      I’m glad I have introduced you to some lesser used American words, especially slang. I am always interested when you tell me you had looked up a word.

      I’ll hiss and boo at the Martians.

  3. flyboybob Says:

    I think you are confusing carbon paper with mimeograph. Carbon paper made one or two copies while mimeograph could make about a hundred. In mimeograph you cut a stencil in the typewriter and then used a kind of printing press to squeeze the ink onto the paper. The ink used a spirit base to dry quickly. The ink had the smell of formaldehyde, I think.

    Submarine races referred to making out in your car in a secluded area with a group of other kids in cars in a place like a lover’s lane or the college football stadium parking lot.

    My kids used to call my vinyl records black CDs and my dad’s Hermes typewriter the ancient word processor. Today CDs are on their way out and are bing replaced by downloaded music. Typewriters are making a small comeback among collectors.

    I still call the TV remote the clicker, which gives my 17 year old son an opportunity to remind me that I’m old. He never misses an opportunity to make me feel irrelevant.

    Gay has changed meaning to the consternation of the right wing loony tunes. No more movies titled ‘The Gay Caballeros II’.

    BTW I think the beer can opener is a considered a church key even though the other end can also open a bottle of beer or soda. This is a throwback to making fun of the Baptists and Church of Christ tea totalers who drink beer in private.

    Clear skies and looking for our first triple digit day.

    • katry Says:

      Bob,
      You are right. I did uses mimeo for running off tests. The carbon paper was just for copying. I had to mimeo all my tests and quizzes on that machine you described.

      I know what submarine races are which is why I added “except they didn’t exist.”Spot Pond parking lot was always filled with cars at night watching the races.

      Kids do that. My dad always called it the clicker as well, but I think it was back then as he passed away a long time ago.

      That’s right-the other end opened bottles. I found this on Wikipedia,
      “It’s called a churchkey for several reasons. The original openers used on bottles (before beer cans existed) looked similar to a large old-fashioned keys used by monks to open the church, as well as keep the precious beer they brewed safe. The name was then adopted to all tools used to open beer–with an ironic twist–for it is said if you used a churchkey opener (i.e. if you drank beer) you would be less likely to open the door of a church to attend service.

      When used to open alcoholic beverages it is known as the key to the Spirits.”

      You sound excited about triple digits!

      • flyboybob Says:

        My parents bought the first remote controlled TV in the 1950s from Zenith. It used a remote control that when you pushed the button it made a click or clunk sound because the button in the remote struck a metal prong. The TV could pick up the sound of the remote and either change the channel or turn the set on or off. That was a real clicker.

        Thanks for the definition of the term “Church Key”.

        Triple digits are fun for about a day. After that it’s just another dry hot afternoon. I got to experience real heat when I was in Dubai the week before Memorial Day a couple of years ago and the temperature was about 45 degrees C. That’s a 113 degrees F with about 98% humidity. It was like Houston on steroids.

      • katry Says:

        Bob,
        I don’t remember when we got ours. I don’t think it was in the 50’s. Mostly I remember walking up and spinning the dial. It might have been in the 60’s when we got our first color TV.

        You’re welcome on church key, but I was curious myself. I chuckled that it is called key to the Spirits.

  4. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    Flyboybob is right. Mimeograph copies had a great smell. We would all sniff them as we passed them back down the row. Sniff, ah. Almost made me happy to be getting a test. Almost.

    I figure anything that operates another piece of technology by my holding it in the palm of my hand oriented so that I can press buttons with just my thumb is a clicker. If I have to use more fingers or fingers other than thumbs, I’m typing so it’s not a clicker. 🙂

    I do miss the card catalogue. Some of the most interesting reads I’ve had were found while I was combing through the card catalogue looking for something completely different. It doesn’t get that random in a google search.

    The weather has been so beautiful these past few days. Beautiful for sleeping, too. The AC unit is still in the box. I suppose I should wrestle it out and see if it works.

    Enjoy the evening and the movie.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      I used to watch the students smell each sheet as they received one. I always inwardly chuckled.

      I can go with your definition of a clicker. It works for me.

      It didn’t occur to me until you mentioned it. The card catalogue was a treasure trove. Google sometimes gets too specific at the expense of side information.

      Tonight we wore sweatshirts, and one of my friends needed a blanket and socks. I was barefooted but I did put on a sweatshirt. The breeze made the deck quite chilly for the movie.

      Hope yours was a good evening too.

  5. Rowen Says:

    Several of my friends and I still use “groovy.” It’s just so, um, groovy.

  6. Jay Bird Says:

    Didn’t need a TV remote in the early 50’s… only choices were NBC or CBS. ABC arrived in the late 50’s where I lived, PBS (formerly NET) didn’t start until the late 60’s. I was an adult when “Sesame Street” debuted. My folks loved their television. We had a TV set as far back as I can recall (many of my grade school classmates didn’t).

    Now I’ve got hundreds of choices on cable… and sometimes there’s “nothing on”.

    • katry Says:

      Jay Bird,
      My parents told me that it was 1951 when their neighbors in the apartment building got the first TV most people had ever seen. Every night they placed it where the neighbors, who brought their own chairs, could watch from the hall. My parents said everyone was enthralled.

      I don’t remember the time before we had a TV. I grew up watching. My favorite was the TV cabinet with doors hiding the TV screen. It was a great piece of furniture.

      I was in the Peace Corps when Sesame Street began its run.

      Like you, I often find nothing to watch despite the multitude of channels.


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