The Forgotten Language of the Home Front

Our friend Don Parker received this with no author credit.  I’ll bet you remember lots of other words from back then – send them in!  If we get enough, I’ll try to write a story using only the old words.  Thanks.      Pete

Murgatroyd, remember that word?  Would you believe the email spell checker did not recognize the word Murgatroyd?   Heavens to Murgatroyd!   Lost Words from our childhood: Words gone as fast as the buggy whip!  Sad really.

The other day a not so elderly lady said something to her son about driving a Jalopy and he looked at her quizzically and said “What the heck is a Jalopy?”He never heard of the word jalopy! She knew she was old, … but not that old.

Well, I hope you are Hunky Dory after you read this and chuckle.

About a month ago, I illuminated some old expressions that have become obsolete because of the inexorable march of technology.  These phrases included “Don’t touch that dial,” “Carbon copy,” “You sound like a broken record” and “Hung out to dry.”  “Loose lips sink ships.”

Back in the olden days we had a lot of ‘moxie’. We’d put on our best ‘bib and tucker’ to ‘straighten up and fly right’.  Heavens to Betsy! Gee whillikers! Jumping Jehoshaphat! Holy moley!  We were ‘in like Flynn’ and ‘living the life of Riley’.  “Don’t be a tail end Charlie.”

Even a regular guy couldn’t accuse us of being a knucklehead, a nincompoop or a pill. Not for all the tea in China!

Back in the olden days, life used to be swell, but when’s the last time anything was swell?   Swell has gone the way of beehives, pageboys and the DA., of spats, knickers, fedoras, poodle skirts, saddle shoes, penny loafers and pedal pushers. And don’t forget Saddle Stitched Pants.

Oh, my aching back! Kilroy was here, .. but he isn’t anymore.  And nobody minds their beeswax anymore or gives anybody the bum’s rush.  (You might have to put up your dukes.)  When was the last time that all was copacetic?  Try to spend four bits today.

We wake up from what surely has been just a short nap and before we can say, “Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle!” Or, This is a ‘fine kettle of fish’! We discover that the words we grew up with, the words that seemed omnipresent as oxygen, have vanished with scarcely a notice from our tongues and our pens and our keyboards.

Poof, go the words of our youth, the words we’ve left behind.  We blink, and they’re gone. It gives me the heebie-jeebies. Where have all those great phrases gone?

Long gone: Pshaw, The milkman did it. Hey, it’s your nickel!   Don’t forget to pull the chain. Knee high to a grasshopper. It looks like a dog’s breakfast.  Well, Fiddlesticks! Going like sixty.      I’ll see you in the funny papers. Don’t take any wooden nickels. Wake up and smell the roses. It turns out there are more of these lost words and expressions than Carter has liver pills.

This can be disturbing stuff! (“Carter’s Little Liver Pills” are gone too.)  We of a certain age have been blessed to live in changeable times. For a child, each new word is like a shiny toy, a toy that has no age. We at the other end of the chronological arc have the advantage of remembering there are words that once existed and there were words that once strutted their hour upon the earthly stage and now are heard no more, except in our collective memories.  It’s one of the greatest advantages of aging.  Leaves us to wonder where Superman will find a phone booth.

See ya later, alligator!      Okidoki!

See ya later, alligator!      See ya soon baboon!

See ya later, alligator!     After a while crocodile!


7 thoughts on “The Forgotten Language of the Home Front”

  1. To; See you later alligator, the reply was, and still is, see you soon baboon.


  2. I double-dog dare you to come up with more of these!!


    1. “Roll up your window, it’s chilly in here,” my brother-in-law says to his grand daughter as he drives her to school. “Why do you say ‘roll up’ the window, Grandpa?” she asks as she pushes the up button on the window motor control.

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