Query: "$64,000 quesiton"

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Wed May 9 19:09:19 UTC 2007

When I was a child down in Texas, we had a General Electric-brand
fridgidaire, said fridgidaire being occasionally referred to as an
"icebox." When we first moved to Saint Louis, city life being somewhat
more expensive than small-town life, we were, at first, able to afford
only a "Coolerator"-brand icebox. (In those days, diversification was
such that Coolerator also manufactured its own Coolerator-brand
fridgidaire.) The iceman supplied a cardboard sign with various
weights of ice on it that you could put into the window. The sign,
that is, not the weights of ice. The iceman would, after lifting the
several layers of burlap and the layer of sawdust that served as
insulation, look at his master block of ice, and eyeball the size of
the block that he had to chip off with his icepick to fill your
family's order. Any excess ice chips he would give to us neighborhood
kids. (Looking back at this practice with the accumulated wisdom of
some seventy dekkids, I'm amazed that no epidemics of cholera or some
such ever swept the city. I did live through an epidemic of diphtheria
in Texas, though. Two kids that lived in adjacent houses across the
street from us died.) The iceman's truck was a horse-drawn wagon. Down
home in Texas, the iceman's truck was a mule-drawn wagon. In both
places, the iceman was a colored fellow.


On 5/9/07, sagehen <sagehen at westelcom.com> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       sagehen <sagehen at WESTELCOM.COM>
> Subject:      Re: Query: "$64,000 quesiton"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >At 11:16 AM -0400 5/9/07, Charles Doyle wrote:
> >>I say "icebox" too, Jonathan. Larry is trying to pass as a young coot.
> >>
> >>--Charlie
> >
> >Au contraire.  As a card-carrying coot, I am entitled to "icebox"
> >with the best (or at least cootiest) of 'em, and I take full
> >advantage of the opportunity.  Amazingly, though, when I bring up
> >refrigerator/fridge/icebox as an instance of extensionally identical
> >items that differ in register and other non-truth-conditional aspects
> >of meaning, my students often claim to be entirely unfamiliar with
> >the last of these, or to be under the impression that it denotes
> >'freezer'.  (Of course "frigidaire" as a generic would be part of
> >this paradigm, but that one I have long since given up.)
> >
> >LH
> >
>  ~~~~~~~~~
> This fully-qualified old coot,  not only occasionally says "icebox, "but
> actually grew up with one on the back porch.  To be honest, we also had an
> electric refrig in the kitchen, but I remember the iceman with his
> horsedrawn wagon & hefty icetongs making regular appearances on our street.
> In recognition of the coterie of coots, I've been trying to create a line
> of them for a sig, but the limited number of signs that survive translation
> into cyberspace, not to mention the great variety of fonts  that turn up on
> remote screens, makes this  unlikely  to succeed.
> ~~~~~~
> On the "bolster" thread, I'm with Lynne in wondering what the speaker had
> in mind.  The sort of temporary low walls set up alongside highway road
> works do rather resemble bolsters of the bedding variety.  Bollards are
> more like barrels  or fat standpipes.
> AM
>        =<_ >^    =<_ >^    =<_ >^   =<_ >^
>     ~~~/ \~~~~~/ \~~~~~/ \~~~~~/ \~~~~
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
                                              -Sam'l Clemens
The tongue has no bones, yet it breaks bones.

                                           Rumanian proverb

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list