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Friday, March 4, 2011

Skate Keys, Valises, and Things No Longer So

It seems odd that anyone growing up in the last four decades is so thoroughly unacquainted with many everyday items that were commonplace in my childhood. Or at least with the words that described them.

Ask someone below the age of 40 what a skate key is, and you'll be met with a bovine stare. Try as you might to describe it, they won't have a clue. You'll get much the same reaction to "valise," the word commonly used to refer to a small suitcase in my childhood during the 1950s. But--curiously--"skate key" and "valise" puzzle recent generations in different ways: skate keys no longer exist, while "valises" are merely called by another name.

An ongoing list of other items that no longer exist: rotary phones, hair nets, The New York Mirror and The Journal American newspapers, fountain pens with plunger, inkwells, blotting paper, bus passes, double feature movies, soapbox scooters, High Mass & Low Mass, draft cards, car running boards, rubber galoshes with metal clasps, the 5 & 10, Kodak Brownie Hawkeye cameras, black and white tv, glass Coke bottles, oilcloth,

An ongoing list of other items now called by a different name: counterpane/bedspread, dungarees/jeans, bedstead/bed frame,

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Publications

  • "Betting the Farm," PUTNAM Magazine, The Journal News, Summer 2008 (See link below.)
  • "So How Does My Garden Grow?" in Why Am I Doing This? Purposeful Teaching Through Portfolio Assessment, ed. Giselle O. Martin-Kniep, Heinemann, 1998
  • "What Maisie Knew," LEITRIM GUARDIAN Magazine, County Leitrim, Ireland, 1993 Annual
  • "Climbing Cuilcagh Mountain," LEITRIM GUARDIAN Magazine, County Leitrim, Ireland, 1990 Annual
  • "Administrative Jargon as a Barrier to Effective Communication," NASSP Bulletin, Journal of the National Association of Secondary School Principals, May 1984 (See link below.)
  • "Local Folk Legends: Learning From an Irish Model," The English Record, Journal of the New York State English Council, Third Quarter, 1984
  • "The Other Ireland," CARA Magazine (Dublin), Nov.-Dec. 1982
  • "Through a Glass Darkly," The Distorted Image of the Irish in America," SUNDAY Magazine (Gannett Suburban Newspapers), White Plains, NY, March 18, 1979