Encore: The Vernacular of my Childhood Goes Kaput

Along with teaching high school I am also “blessed” with teaching a ninth grade English class.  Although most days they suck the life force out of me,  I enjoy them immensely and will miss them terribly at the end of the year. They do keep me on my toes and they do stupefy me sometimes when it comes to opening that little door into their reality.

Months ago I happened to mention that I had bought a pair of thongs for spring.  This elicited an uproarious response with nothing short of children rolling in the aisles until I clarified that I meant “flip flops” and that thongs, when I was their, age didn’t mean underwear.

Once this “thong” issue was resolved, I thought that we pretty much were on the same playing field until I used the word “galoshes”.  I was met by blank stares all around.

“You know, those big rubbery boots with buckles that men wear overtop their dress shoes?”


Finally I just said, “Ask your grandpa”.

And then yesterday, when I told my little darlings that if there were not enough computers for all of them to use for research they may have to go “old school” and crack open an encyclopedia, they had no idea what I was talking about.  So I explained, as patiently as I could, that, ” there are books arranged in alphabetical order that contain all sorts of information.  If you want to learn about tsunamis then you take the book with the “T” off the shelf and looked for tsunami”.

“You mean kinda like the internet only in a book?”


Today it was stationary.  They were clueless.  So I actually had the “back in the day you could buy pretty paper with matching envelopes on which to write letters using a pen”  conversation with the crew of pubescents.


I feel very old this week.  When does this happen?  When did the vernacular of my childhood become archaic?


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