childhood rhymes

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Mon Aug 2 18:27:01 UTC 2004

Yes, saluggi !  I heard this word nearly every day (for reasons too painful to dwell on), as both n. and interj. Have not googled it, but as of a few years back I had only one printed citation - from Mad magazine, early 60s.

Another word in daily use in the mid 50s but unlisted by lexicographers till very recently was "oaktag," the kind of posterboard that was ubiquitous in grade school classrooms.


Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU> wrote:
---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: Laurence Horn
Subject: Re: childhood rhymes

At 4:52 PM -0700 8/1/04, David Colburn wrote:
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Jesse Sheidlower"
>Sent: Sunday, August 01, 2004 3:12 PM
>Subject: Re: childhood rhymes
>> >
>> > Another peculiarity: RHUD gives the pronunciation of "spaldeen" with
>> > last-syllable stress! Does this match the recollections of the list
>> Yes, that's how _spaldeen_ is pronounced. And I must say that I
>> am shocked, shocked that Dr. Lighter never heard the term in
>> his time here! Perhaps he should have got out to Brooklyn more....
>Spaldeen, stressed on the last syllable, is certainly how my stepfather
>always pronounced it too, when he would tell me about playing stickball in
>his youth. He grew up in Washington Heights in the 50's and 60's, so
>'spaldeen' apparently wasn't exclusively a Brooklyn pronunciation.

I overlapped with your father in the same neighborhood. My formative
years were spent on Fort Washington Ave. (between Riverside Drive and
Broadway) at W. 163d St. from 1948 to 1957, and "spaldEEN" was
definitely pronounced that way.

As discussed some time ago on the list, in re NYC nostalgia, we also
played "salug(g)i", a game where you take something from some kid,
maybe a cap or a baseball glove, and toss it around among your
friends while calling "salug(g)i". Game ends when the kid gives up
trying to get it back and starts crying. It's sort of the New York
version of keep-away, the difference being in the contrast between

"Let's play{keep-away/#saluggi}--I'll be It".

--Larry, a player and a playee

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