While we were going through the boxes of my grandmother’s things, we came across some other stuff my parents are keeping. Like old report cards, and crap like that. Or, as it’s sometimes known, the “Jeff is not living up to his potential” file.
Most of it was only mildly interesting, but I came across the actual hospital bill from… my birth. It cost my Mom and Dad $100 cold cash to bring me into the world. And they had so little money, they had to make payments on it.
I asked my Dad if it was worth it, and he said, “Yeah, I guess so.” Nice.
My brother, born a year and a half later, cost $125. That’s a whopping 25% increase, in a short period of time. Maybe Lyndon Johnson was sticking it to the greedy bastards at Big Baby? I don’t know.
I also found a stack of newspapers from the late 1930s, and early 1940s. Most were the Charleston Gazette, but a few were unfamiliar papers produced especially for the citizens of Dunbar — a town of roughly 10,000. And those were the best.
On the “Society” page (heh), there was a short piece about a dinner party held by the Williams family, of 21st Street. They served leg of lamb, and a complete listing of attendees was included. Like, six or seven people. Apparently it was big news when a couple had a few folks over for dinner back then?
There were also notices about people preparing to visit a sister in Norfolk, or Williamsburg, for a few days. And a blurb about a man and woman returning from a trip to Florida. This was news, in the newspaper!
I also found a Dunbar High School yearbook from 1944. It had belonged to my Mom’s half-sister, whose radio I absconded with, and some of the students were teachers I had at DHS almost forty years later. Small town America…
Many of the senior boys were in full military uniform, which seemed kinda odd. It was during WWII, so I guess it makes sense. But when I was 17 and 18, I had the maturity of a fourth grader. I can’t imagine being sent to kill Nazis at that age. But whatever.
One of the funniest thing in the book was a list of all the seniors, and their favorite phrases. It was stuff like “Holy moly!” and “Geezie peezie!” and “Oh, cow!” Ten or twelve people listed “Oh, cow!” so I guess that was a big one in ’44?
I could be wrong, but I have a feeling those weren’t really their favorite phrases; they were just the ones they wanted their parents to read.
My aunt, my mother’s sister, was in high school when I was a little kid during the late ’60s, and I remember she and all her friends used to say, “Oh, suck my nose!” all the time. I thought that was extra-disgusting, therefore excellent.
My grandfather hated it, and would fly into a rage whenever he heard someone use the phrase. But I thought it was pretty cool. Wonder if they allowed them to list it in their yearbook? Somehow I doubt it.
This one is brief, but hopefully you guys can take it from here? What are some briefly popular phrases you used to hear, and possibly use, which have disappeared completely? I’m sure I could come up with a few from my “not living up to his potential” years, but I’m pinched for time (again).
I’ll finish the WV stuff tomorrow, and zero out the notebook on Friday.
See you guys next time.