"Carded"--not heard before 1968 in NYC

Peter A. McGraw pmcgraw at LINFIELD.EDU
Fri May 25 15:51:30 UTC 2001


When I left Oregon for an extended period after my freshman year in
college, in 1961, I'm sure I had never heard the word "carding" except as
something they used to do to wool in the Olden Days.  Since the drinking
age was 21, the issue didn't really come up in high school, at least in the
circles I moved in.  I remember once trying to buy beer during that year
and being asked for my driver's license. The group of friends I returned to
after the failure of this enterprise didn't speak of my having been
"carded," and I didn't use the word in my account of the incident, since I
didn't know it.  Allen's report of the OLCC cards is the first I've heard
of them.

When I moved back to Oregon many years later, my chances of being mistaken
for a 20-year-old were roughly zero, so it's quite possible the word might
still be in use without my ever coming across it.  If I had commented on
this thread before, I would have said I'd never heard the word in Oregon.

I rather suspect Allen's and my early experiences reflect an introduction
of the word here sometime in the early 60s.  I'm a lot more hesitant to
offer myself as an informant on whether it's still around today.

Peter Mc.

--On Thursday, May 24, 2001 8:27 PM -0700 "A. Maberry"
<maberry at U.WASHINGTON.EDU> wrote:

> When I turned drinking age (21) in Portland OR a few years back "carded"
> was the only term used, as it was during high school (1966-1970). It
> seemed especially appropriate in Oregon at that time. Oregon drivers'
> licenses were flimsy pink, it think, cards which were pretty easily
> doctored to make the person appear older than actual fact, not that I or
> anyone I knew would have done such a thing. They had no photographs and
> unless an 18 year old was claiming to be 40, were not much proof of age.
> So, the OLCC (Oregon Liquor Control Commission) issued what we called, not
> surprizingly OLCC cards, which were plastic photo ID cards proving the
> bearer to be of legal age--sort of a license to drink.  Since your license
> was little or no proof, bartenders, grocery clerks etc., had to see your
> "card" not your license. Hence, in Oregon at least, one was always carded.
> Allen
> maberry at u.washington.edu
>  On Thu, 24 May 2001, Gerald Cohen wrote:
>>     Mark Odegard  writes (5/24/01) that "carded" arose in 1971 or
>> shortly afterward in connection with lowering the voting and then
>> drinking age to 18. This jibes with my never having heard the term
>> while I lived in NYC (until 1968).
>>      My parents owned a combination grocery store and small restaurant
>> with a bar
>> in mid-town Manhattan. At least occasionally young men would come to
>> the bar and asked to be served liquor, and if there was any doubt
>> about their being 21, the bartender would ask for proof of age. In
>> all the time that I heard my parents tell about those incidents and
>> in all the time I spent working or eating in the store, I never heard
>> the terms "carded" or "proofed." It was simply asking for proof of
>> age or some variant of this.
>> ---Gerald Cohen
>> > Date:         Thu, 24 May 2001
>> > From: Mark Odegard <markodegard at HOTMAIL.COM>
>> > Subject:      Re: Carded vs Proofed
>> >
>> > The 26th Amendment (18-year-old vote) was ratified in 1971. Shortly
>> > thereafter, there was a general lowering of the drinking age to 18
>> > (which has since been undone). This was when something like half the
>> > country was under 25 if I recall correctly; we were exporting huge
>> > numbers of teenagers to stop bullets in 'Nam.
>> >
>> > I first heard 'to card', 'carding' about the time most states
>> > experimented with letting 18-year-olds drink.
>> >
>> > As I think about it, an under-18 is harder to tell from an under-21,
>> > if only because of they way they dress. At 21, you can graduated from
>> > college, working, starting a family; at 18, you're still a
>> > party-animal wannabe.
>> >
>> > This is about the time we needed the verb 'card'. ...

                               Peter A. McGraw
                   Linfield College   *   McMinnville, OR
                            pmcgraw at linfield.edu

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