We used to have a section on our website called “Scrapbook” where we had begun to share stories from the road and other things of interest. We later decided that a blog would work better as a format for our digital scrapbooking. So we created one. But somewhere in the move the video of our wedding got left behind. We’ve had several people ask since then, “What happened to the wedding video?” and “When will the wedding video be back up?” Well gosh … we’re a bit flattered it was so well received. So in response, and in honor of our recent five-year anniversary this past May, here it is back up online again! Thank you for all the nice comments and all of your support. It means a lot to us! –Wyatt & Shari
Yesterday I was thinking about it being the new year and all, and the following popped into my head: “Have a cool yule and gear new year!” That’s how the Beatles said it to the members of their fan club back in the very early 1960’s. They also used to send the members of their fan club little 45 records back then.
I think the words fab and gear are arguably the two words most associated with the very early Beatles. Those terms were part of Liverpudlian dialect (a dialect also referred to as scouse). Fab is easy to figure out. It’s probably short for “fabulous”. But I wasn’t sure about “gear”. I mean, for a while everything was gear. “Wow! Heather’s party was really gear!” “That concert was so gear!” I looked it up in an etymology reference and it gave the following information:
Gear: adjective: excellent, absolutely right, first-rate. An ephemeral vogue word that spread with the popularity of the Beatles and the ‘Mersey sound’ from Liverpool in 1963 to be picked up by the media (a fact which incidentally marked its demise as a fashionable term).
Evidently there is some debate about the real derivation of the term. One theory is that it came from the French expression de rigueur, meaning “necessary according to etiquette, protocol or fashion.” So “gear” meant properly fashionable and would have then evolved to mean “really great.” The other origin given for the term is that it came to Liverpool, a seaport city, via the sailors and solders who traveled through that place. Evidently the term had been in usage since at least WWI and is even referenced in a British collection of military slang where it states “enthusiasm painted anything that had given great pleasure as the gear.”
By the way, I smiled at the last part of that definition I gave you a couple of paragraphs above where it says the fact that the term was picked up by the media marked its demise. Its usage did decline rather quickly. I use it now and then for fun, and the occasional New Years Day blog post, but unlike words such as “cool”, “gear” just didn’t have staying power. Should one ponder the slang of one’s youth, it’s not long before one realizes that a lot of things you used to say haven’t been said, or even heard, for a long time. If you think on what that means as far as how quickly the years have flown by, and how old you might be getting, it may make you feel more than a bit grotty!
That thought leads me now to inviting you on a little trip back to my groovy teen past to share a few examples of some slang I remember that has come and all but gone (thankfully gone in some cases). We’ll start with the obvious one.
Groovy: It was out of use for a very long time but it has made a bit of a comeback. I was thinking recently about how it didn’t seem to work well in songs. For some reason they always seemed to end up sounding contrived and ultimately dated—except in two cases where I think they still work to this day: Feelin’ Groovy by Paul Simon, and the Phil Collins remake of Groovy Kind of Love by The Mindbenders.
Heavy: As in, “Wow…heavy man.” Really sad, painful or sobering.
Bogue: Two meanings for this one. The first was mean,rude, gross or alarming. Interestingly enough I have read that it is considered largely a Michigan term when used this way. The second meaning was as a shortened version of bogus, as in “unreal, a lie.” “That was a totally bogue story.“
Far out: Really cool. If you said it in an awed and amazed way it worked. Unfortunately, when John Denver started saying it in his gosh, shucks, drawn out, country spud way, it sounded really corny. I really do think John single-handedly killed far out. (Sorry John, you did write some really good songs though.)
Taid or Tait: A cigarette. “Can I bum a taid off ya’?” I’ve only ever heard this term at my alma mater, Rogers High School, in West Michigan and was surprised years later to find that people from outside our school district were unfamiliar with it. I can find no reference for it elsewhere but the term was used all the time by myself and my peers back in the 70’s. I don’t know its origin.
Truckin’: Leave, go, move on. “Keep on truckin”, dude.” Back in the day, my buds and I used to cruise up and down 28th Street from Rogers Plaza in Wyoming, Michigan, to Woodland Mall in nearby Kentwood. Many of our friends would be doing the same and we would meet in the parking lots and hang out in groups, standing by our cars and having a lot of laughs. It was fun. We called that truckin’ too!
Well, I’m sure I could go on and on but this seems like a good spot to stop for now. That was a nice reminisce though. Oh! And “grotty”? That was a bit of manufactured slang. The script writer for the Beatles movie, Hard Days Night, made the word up (short for “grotesque”) and wanted George Harrison to use it on film. George didn’t like the idea much but he did say it. The word didn’t have staying power though. Probably because there was a much better word for grotesque on the horizon. “Grotty” was just too… well…gross!
What are some slang terms you remember from your past? In what era were they first popular? Are any of them still used? Here’s a fun excerpt from Hard Days Night that features George Harrison. You’ll get to hear him say grotty. By the way, the movie really is worth a look if you can find the DVD. Fun film and well written. -Wyatt
I’ve been thinking back on the last three years since we put all our stuff in storage, bought our Minnie Winnie and started our new life as wandering minstrels and authors. That first year we were learning how the “dry camping” and “boondocking” thing worked for the various places in Michigan where we would stay. You soon find out which big box stores are friendly to overnight parking and where to find places to empty tanks, get propane cheap, and fill up with fresh water. It’s gotten to be so we know how to “work” most of the places in the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan where we ply our craft.
Our prime spot at the beach!
That first summer we spent a lot of time at Holland State Park during the day. We’d get there very early in the morning, claim our spot, put out the awning and spend the day at the beach. As evening approached and our day’s work was done, we’d take a quick swim, get the motor home travel ready, and then sit out in the sand in our lounge chairs and watch the sun set over the wide expanse of the big lake We’d try hard not to blink at the very second it disappeared below the horizon so we could try to see the famous “green flash.”
Holland, Michigan Sunset
It was that same summer that Shari really put our situation into perspective when she looked at me with an expression born of epiphany and said, “Wyatt! We live in a motor home! We’re driving ten miles a day back and forth to the beach. We can do our work anywhere. Why not take those miles and work our way north and see where we end up?” All at once we were inspired by this fresh approach to the hours of laboring on phone calls, developing promotional material and wrestling with computers and printers. We could pick our work environment. We were in charge! And instead of driving back and forth between our dry camping spot and the beach, we could just pick a direction and go.
Orchard Beach Campground, gateway to M22.
So we decided to inch our way up the western coast of Michigan, following US 31 and M-22 much of the way. We found ourselves traveling through quaint little towns and some of the most breath-takingly beautiful hilly and rugged scenery. Some of the towns had banners up advertising summer concerts, and we began leaving our promotional material with them as we passed through. We would find a scenic place or state park along the way where we could spend the day and work. It was our mini “blue highways” trip, and established what became our annual “northern tour”.
Thinking back on all of this gets the two of us excited about sharing stories from the last few years, so our future posts are bound to include a few trips in the “wayback machine.” So if you’re ready–hang on! Let’s see where we land! -Wyatt