Adventures in Retirement – Words & Phrases from the Past

Written by Bill Leavitt. Posted in Featured, Senior Living

Published on January 13, 2016 with No Comments

In this, the holiday season, our thoughts often drift back to memories of our younger days.  These memories can be triggered by hearing or reading the words and phrases of past generations that are different from those used today.  The following are rarely heard today.  Reading them may bring forth a chuckle or a fond memory.  I hope you enjoy them.

Back in the olden days we had a lot of moxie. We’d put on our best bib and tucker, and straighten up and fly right. Hubba-hubba!  Heavens to Betsy! Gee whillikers! Jumpin’ Jehoshaphat! Holy moley! Lickety-split!  We were in like Flynn, and living the life of Riley, and people might be called a knucklehead, a nincompoop, or a pill. Not for all the tea in China!

See ‘ya later, alligator!  After while, crocodile!

Words from the Past

Pshaw, Tsk Tsk, Fiddlesticks, By Golly, Whipper Snapper, Ice Box, Ice House, Ice Man, Wash Board, Mimeograph, Carbon Copy (as in “He’s a . . .”), Adding Machines, Candy Cigarettes, Cooties.

Entertainment & Toys:  Talkie, Records, Record Machine, Crystal Set (radio), Peep Show, Snapshots, Polaroid Picture, Hula Hoops, Skate Keys.

Cars & Phones:  Jalopy, Hot Rod, Running Board, Rumble Seat, Dial Phone, Phone Booth, Party Line, Pay Phone.

Clothing:  Spats, Knickers, Fedoras, Poodle Skirts, Pedal Pushers, Chemise, Sack Dress, Silk Stockings, Saddle Shoes, Leisure Suit.

Hair Styles:  Beehive, Bubble, Page Boy, D.A., Shag, Crew, Flat Top, Crew Cut.

Phrases:  Clean as a Whistle; Wet Your Whistle; Kilroy Was Here; Don’t Touch That Dial; You Sound Like a Broken Record; Hung Out to Dry; Bigger Than a Breadbox; Don’t Take Any Wooden Nickels; Don’t Forget to Pull the Chain; Don’t Pull My Chain; Knee High to a Grasshopper; I’ll be a Monkey’s Uncle; This Is a Fine Kettle of Fish; Oh, My Stars and Garters; Cat’s Pajamas; Hey Joe, What D’you Know?; Shave and a Hair Cut:  Two Bits.

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About Bill Leavitt


All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Bill Leavitt is a technical writer from Valparaiso. After retiring from a large corporation in Chicago, he did technical writing consulting for many companies. He currently teaches part-time at Purdue University Calumet. You can order Leavitt’s book, “Retirement: Life’s Greatest Adventure,” by sending $16.65 (includes shipping and sales tax) made payable to Write On Technical Writing, Inc., P.O. Box 132,Valparaiso, IN 46384-0132. Or, visit RetirementLifesGreatestAdventure.com for more information.

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