Kim in Baltimore enjoying the last days of summer.
“What’s black and white with a cherry on top?” This was my dad’s favorite joke. “A radio car,” he’d say before anyone could answer and he’d laugh as if it were the funniest thing he’d ever heard. A radio car.
A few nights ago two police officers came to have a talk with a man who lives down the street with his girlfriend. She’d been on the porch yelling at him right before they showed up.
“What’s going on?” my daughter asked.
“Not much, just a radio car stopped down the street,” I answered.
“A radio car,” I said again. She stared at me, a blank expression on her face. “A patrol car, you know, the police.”
This exchange left me wondering. Does anyone still say radio car? What other pre-historic phrases am I using that baffles my family and friends?
Have you noticed people seldom say telephone anymore? It’s either landline or cell. I’ve even had to describe to my kids about phone booths.
I think back to my own childhood and the phrases my grandmother would use. When she said, “I’m going to lay across the bed,” that meant she was going to take a nap. And that was exactly what she would do, lay across her bed and not on the pillow or under the covers. I still say this, but it means I’ll be napping upstairs and not on the couch.
One of my favorites was the word “jackpot”. And no, it didn’t mean a big prize, in fact quite the opposite. If you were in the jackpot it meant you were in a great deal of trouble, not a winner.
For years we said things such as icebox and hanky because that’s what my grandparents said.
Why is it that some expressions hang on while others disappear? Is it because times change or is it that we move farther from our families these days and the old terms fade away with our distance from them?
My daughter is never going to use the term radio car, or say she’s in a jackpot, but hopefully some of my “old” sayings will be passed along for future generations to wonder over.
Readers: What phrases or words do you remember your parents using that are no longer in fashion?