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Old But Treasured Words and Sayings

When I started tutoring one of my students and I picked him up in our old car, he had absolutely no idea how to roll down the window – he had never seen a manual window!

I definitely felt old “er” that moment . . . but I smiled.

My sister-in-law sent me this email yesterday. Once again, I smiled.

Just had to share it today.


Hi friends!
I realize that many of us are of a certain age. When my husband asked my grand daughter to go and get the _________, she asked,“What’s a phonebook?”




LOST WORDS FROM OUR CHILDHOOD                                                                        by Richard Ledever

Would you recognize the phrase, ” Heavens to Murgatroyd?”

About a month ago, I illuminated some old expressions that have become obsolete because of  the inexorable march of technology.  These phrase included “Don’t touch that dial,” “Carbon copy,” “You sound like a broken record” and  “Hung out to dry.” “Gee whillikers!”  “Jumping Jehoshaphat!” “Holy moley!” “We were “in like Flynn”, “living the life of Riley” and 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”, “spats”, “knickers”, “fedoras”, “poodle skirts”, “saddle shoes” and “pedal pushers.”

How about, “Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle!” and “This is a fine kettle of fish.”

We discover that the words we grew up with, the words that seem as 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.

Long gone:  “Pshaw!” “The milkman did it!” “Hey! It’s your nickel.”  “Knee high to a grasshopper.” “Well, Fiddlesticks!” “I’ll see you in the funny papers.” “Don’t take any wooden nickels.”

It turns out there are more of these lost words and expressions than “Carter has liver  pills.”  This can be disturbing stuff! We of a certain age have been blessed to live in changeful 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 did not exist and there were words that once strutted their hour upon the earthly stage and now are heard no more, except in our collective memory.

It’s one of the greatest advantages of aging.


  1. Kathy

    And we used the three inch thick “phone book” as a booster seat for small children to sit on!!!

    • Diane (Author)

      Made an excellent booster seat, didn’t it?

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