“Falling to the way side” with non-Anglo immigrants

I was reading about newcomers to this country, some with no knowledge of our language and vernacular, and attending ESL courses.

I was thinking of all the expressions, the meaning of which they would never be taught. Here are a few oldies: A Chip Off The Old Block, Behind the Eight Ball, Clean as a Whistle, Don't Get Your Knickers In a Knot, Eat Crow, Fit as a Fiddle, Go Fly a Kite and Hold Your Shirt.

My five year old grandson was requesting immediate attention when I let out the last phrase "Hold Your Shirt". He literally held onto the bottom of his T-shirt until he had a nice round ball and I released him from the directive.

Maybe you have never used these sayings yourself, but some of them may have been directed toward you. How about In a Pig's Eye, Jump in the Lake, Knock-kneed, Mind your Ps and Qs, On the Pork Barrel, Pie in the Sky, Slip Shod, Ting Toed, Under the Weather and Willy Nilly.

Notice these phrases are all alphabetical. I'm great at making lists.

We Seniors have quite a number of things with names nobody knows today. We know Studebaker, Hupmobile, Essex and Station Wagon. We also remember the Milkman, the Breadman and the Vegetable Man who came to the door with corn, turnips and potatoes. In the Springtime we could hear him calling "Strawberries" down the streets.

I realize today with all the new technology, half the time I don't know what your people are talking about and heaven forbid if one of my grandchildren wants me to play a game on a doo-dad I don't even know the name of.

Of course, thank goodness, there are some words we don't have to remember any more, like tubercolosis, scarlet fever, mumps, hunch back and club feet.

I was telling my daughter about all these phrases and words and she informed me "Only Seniors use these sayings. I guess she is right.

I know it i hard to believe but sometimes I forget I am old so maybe newcomers won't be talking or listening to me anyway.

So, I guess there is no need for newcomers to know all our old sayings and proverbs. They have probably brought along similar quotations from their own countries, which mean the same as ours do.

Enjoy the ESL.

Rita Butt