Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The secret "sins" of childhood

(Picture of 40's era kids.)

Back in the forties when I was growing up, I had three younger siblings very close in age. We lived in an old farm house outside of town. That was back in the days when the only entertainment was radio and occasionally, a "Blondie" or "Pa & Ma Kettle" movie in town . Those were innocent times when everything was G-rated. Even us.

We were never allowed to use naughty words like Heck or Darn. In fact, we couldn't even say Butt. The "butt-ockal" area was called the Seater. (I found this quite confusing since my mom had a cedar chest in her bedroom.)

Since we were normal kids, however, we didn't let the prohibition on cussing keep us from talking trash to each other. We got away with vilifying each other using such nostagic old favorites as Snot, Stinkpot, Dope or Dumb-bell. When someone wimped out by crying, they were scorned with Big Baby!

Bodily functions were coyly referred to as Number 1 or Number 2. The words Pee (as in urinate)or Body (as in naked) were very edgy language in our young minds. Incredibly, there was a character on the "Fibber McGee and Molly" radio show named Mr. Peabody. We happily incorporated this name into our lexicon of alternative cussing. Thus, our new order of escalating filthy language became:

Dummy > Dumb-Dope > Dumb-Dope-Peabody!

This was absolutely the most vile thing we could call a sibling. Happily, Mom was oblivious to the truly foul-mouthed implications of Peabody, so we got away with it for years--even if someone tattled.

And yet, we all rose above our youthful wickedness and became upstanding citizens. All four of us are grandparents now, but you should hear the way our grandkids talk!


Olde Dame Penniwig said...

"Yankee" was our vilest epithet. Tee hee...

Bevie said...

My siblings and I didn't exactly become upstanding citizens, but we also had our code words for swearing.

"Brown" came to mean "poop" which meant "Number 2". If one didn't go to heaven, one went - "down there". Whenever my younger sister and I heard anyone talk about going "down there" we would get to giggling.

There was something precious about being so trained not to swear.

Barbara Blundell said...

You only whispered "knickers"'or"'underpants " "Bra" was unmentionable There are still some 'bad' words I cannot say to this day !'