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Do You Remember Fender Skirts?
Words that have Disappeared

"Fender skirts!" What a great blast from the past! I hadn'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.

Fender skirt on a car

Fender Skirt


Thinking about fender skirts started me thinking about other words that quietly disappear from our language with hardly a notice. There were "curb feelers" and "steering knobs."

Curb feelers on a car protecting the tires

Protect those whitewalls with curb feelers



Since I'd been thinking of cars, my mind naturally went that direction first.

Steering Knob

Steering Knob


Your kids will probably have to find some elderly person over the age of 50 to explain some of these terms to them.

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.

Lincoln Continental Kit

Lincoln Continental Kit

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 called the accelerator the "foot feed."

Gas pedal - Foot Feed accelerator

Remember 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?

Running Board on car

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 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 usage. I said it the other day and my daughter cackled. I guess it's just "bra" now. "Unmentionables" probably wouldn't be understood at all.

It's hard to recall that this word was once said in a whisper: "divorce."

And no one is called a "divorcee" anymore. Certainly not a "gay divorcee."

Come to think of it, "confirmed bachelors" and "career girls" are long gone, too.

Rat FinkMost of these words go back to the '50s, but here is 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? "Coffeemaker." 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 "ElectraLuxe." Introducing the 1963 Admiral Television, 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 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."

Save a great word. Invite someone to supper. Discuss fender skirts.

From a retired work friend via the Internet



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