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Things you may not know or recall

July 29, 2012
By ESTHER MCCOY - Staff writer ( , The Herald-Star

I am almost embarrassed to write anything that has to do with fashion any more, as in writing about the Harrison County 4-H style show. Everything is so updated that I almost get laughed out of the room if I describe a garment in the terms that I remember.

For instance, Hayden Wallace made a pair of boys shorts in a style that I would call Bermuda shorts, a term from the 1960s, I know.

When I asked former reporter Jeremy Kins if they are still called shorts by that name, he replied, "I don't know what you are talking about."

The next model wore a dress that was straight and had a loose fit. I would have called it a shift but was afraid I would get more snickers. I could even go back further and have called it a sack dress. Does anyone remember those?

Then we have the shoes that are on a platform. "Back in my day," as my dad would say, we called them wedgies. And I verified this with my friend, Florence Turnbull, who never wore them but called them the same thing.

Again, I was laughed at by my granddaughter, Jessie, who said they are called a wedge now.

Going way far back, I recall girls slacks, ones made of twill as denim had not been discovered by the ladies yet. They were called dungarees. And how about clam diggers for the mid-calf slacks?

Bleeding madras was a fabric that changed colors each time it was washed and was usually in a man's shirt or Bermuda shorts, or whatever they are called now. I remember that they faded onto anything else that was in the washing machine with them.


I have an e-mail from back in January 2011, I like to keep things I think I will use later, and the e-mail was talking about all the changes that the youth of today have, things we didn't even know existed.

For instance, we had to go to the library and look it up ourselves if we wanted information on a book, in the card catalog no less. And there was that Dewey decimal system to contend with. These was no Internet to provide every last bit of information needed.

We wrote letters with a pen and a nice sheet of paper and walked across the street to put it in the mailbox, and it would take a week to arrive at its destination, now called snail mail. Stamps were 10 cents at that time, too.

There were no MP3s or iTunes. If you wanted to steal music, you had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio and the deejay would usually talk over the beginning and mess it all up. There were no CD players. We had tape decks in our car and would play a favorite tape and eject it when finished and when the tape came undone, it was rendered useless.

There was no call waiting. If you were on the phone, and somebody else called, they got a busy signal. There were no cell phones back then either. If you left the house, you just didn't make a call or receive one. You actually had to be out of touch with your friends and parents for the duration. And there is texting now. What else will they think of?

We did not have caller identification either on the telephones. When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was. It could be your school, your parents, your boss, you just never knew. You had to pick it up and take your chances.

You had to use a little book called a "TV Guide" to find out what was on television. And there was no channel surfing. You had to get up and walk over to the television to change the channel. There were absolutely no remotes.

No Cartoon Network either. You could only get cartoons on Saturday morning. You had to wait all week for a cartoon about a stupid Roadrunner bird that kept going "Beep, beep." Or Bugs Bunny who kept saying "What's up, Doc?'

There were no microwaves. If you wanted to heat something up, you used the stove and waited for 5 minutes for it to get to the right temperature.

Parents told their children to stay outside and play - all day long. There were no electronics to soothe and comfort them in the home. If you came back inside, you were stuck doing chores.

There were no car seats. Your mom threw you in the back seat, and you hung on. If you were lucky, you got her "safety arm" across your chest at the last moment if she stopped suddenly. If your head hit the dashboard, that was your fault for not calling out "shot gun" in the first place.

The e-mail notes that kids of today would not have lasted five minutes back in 1970 or any time before. But they would have to learn to adjust. We sure got through it all right.


Now for some things you never knew, stopped to think about or cared whether you knew or not.

For instance, did you know that stewardesses is the longest word typed with only the left hand? Try it and see. Likewise, lollipop is the longest word typed with your right hand.

There is no word in the English language that rhymes with month, orange, silver or purple.

Dreamt is the only English word that ends in the letters "mt."

Our eyes are always the same size from the time of birth to the great beyond, but the nose and ears never stop growing, and an ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain. Either the brain is very small or the eye is quite big.

The sentence "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" uses every letter of the alphabet. We would type this in John Queses' typing class at Smithfield High School.

The words race car, kayak and level are the same whether they are read left to right or right to left, called palindromes.

There are only four words in the English language which end in dous: trememdous, horrendous, stupendous and hazardous.

There are two words in the English language that have all five vowels in order: abstemious and facetious.

Typewriter is the longest word that can be made using the letters only on one row of the keyboard.

Muscles are important in any part of the body but think of the cat who has 32 muscles in each ear.

A goldfish has a memory span of just three seconds, sort of like me on a bad day.

Jiffy is an actual unit of time for 1/100th of a second.

A shark is the only fish that can blink with both eyes. A snail can sleep for three years.

Human babies are born without knee caps. They don't appear until the child reaches 2 to 6 years old.

In the last 4,000 years, no new animals have been domesticated.

Peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite, and Lamont tells me that baking soda is another. When I had poison ivy quite bad, I bought four boxes of baking soda, and he asked if I was planning on blowing up the rabbits who keep eating the veggies in our garden.

The microwave was invented after a researcher walked by a radar tube, and a chocolate bar melted in his pocket.

Rubber bands last longer when refrigerated, and the winter of 1932 was so cold that Niagara Falls froze completely solid.

And in all the work done in typing this column, I just learned that the average person's left hand does 56 percent of the typing. I really did not notice.


I just wanted to make mention of the Bethel United Methodist Church, near Jewett on state Route 151, having a nice festival Aug. 4 starting at 10 a.m.

They are having donkey rides, but I don't think I can be goaded into riding one, like my grandson did to me with the camel at the Living Christmas Tree production in Columbus. Donkeys have been known to balk at passengers on their backs. Camels not so much.

They serve a wonderful luncheon, have a nice bake sale, flea market and great Christian music. I know they would like to see you there.

(McCoy, a resident of Smithfield, is food editor and a staff columnist for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times. She can be contacted at

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